Gulf Labour Markets, Migration, and Population (GLMM) Programme

An international independent, non-partisan, non-profit joint programme of a major Gulf think tank and a globally renowned academic migration centre.
The programme provides data, analyses, and recommendations contributing to the improvement of understanding and management of
Gulf labour migration, population, and labour markets, engaging with and respecting the viewpoints of all stakeholder.

Non-Kuwaiti population by migration status and country of citizenship of holder (2009) (some nationalities)

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  Migration Status TOTAL 
Country of citizenship Worker Family member Student Other resident 
Iraq 4.559 10.597 0 339 15.495
Syria 57.535 72.387 2 1.191 131.115
Lebanon 20.216 22.779 3 347 43.345
Jordan 19.020 30.588 7 489 50.104
Palestine 0 0 0 0 0
Egypt 311.815 111.058 18 4.126 427.017
Other Arabs 15.622 13.879 29 406 29.936
Total Arab nationalities 428.767 261.288 59 6.898 697.012
Iran 29.700 16.545 7 547 46.799
Philippines 101.770 6.769 32 1.281 109.852
Pakistan 100.579 25.613 27 1.214 127.433
India 513.301 76.504 15 5.234 595.054
Bangladesh 199.111 7.351 3 2.149 208.614
Sri Lanka  96.325 3.706 14 1.373 101.418
Other nationalities 165.144 22.481 529 3.610 191.764
TOTAL ALL NATIONALITIES 1.634.697 420.257 686 22.306 2.077.946

Source: Ministry of Interior





1. Definitions and data collection method


The migration status is inferred from the distribution of expatriates by type of residence permits they hold as of December 31st, the given year (cf. table in files MOV 2.3).


Workers are holders of permits n°17 (governmental labor), 18 (non-governmental labor); 19 (business) and 20 (domestic help).

Family members are holders of a dependent permit: spouse, children or elderly dependent relatives can join visa holder (sponsor) in Kuwait, if the expatriate has obtained a residency and is earning a minimum of KD250 a month (private and governement sector alike).

A working wife cannot sponsor her husband as a dependent. Also, sons over the age of 21 years cannot be sponsored as dependants, though adult daughters and parents may be permitted. Dependent family members are not allowed to work on a Dependent Visa, unless they transfer it into a work visa under Kuwaiti sponsorship. This can be done only after 6 to 12 months of holding a dependent visa.

Every children including new born babies must hold a residency permit. The application for the infant’s residence must be made within 60 days of the birth

The Dependent Visa holder is permitted to stay as long as the sponsor holds a valid visa.

Students are holders of a study visa

Other residents are holders of:


* Temporary permit: An expatriate may be granted temporary residence under article 14 of the immigration regulations in special cases where he does not need or cannot get ordinary residence.

This allows the expatriate to stay for up to one year, for personal emergencies such as illness, or after resignation from employment in order to settle financial affairs or a court case.

* Self residence permit: Expatriates may sponsor themselves under article 24 of the regulations and obtain a residence for two to five years under several conditions

(among which: being aged 60 and more, having worked no less than 25 years in Kuwait, owning a capital of 10000 KD at least; being able to produce a certificate of good conduct, being effectively residing in Kuwait with his/her family, etc.).

This form of residence can be renewed upon expiry. Self-sponsored expatriates may sponsor their wives and children.


Residency procedures do not apply to GCC nationals.

The bidoun, a stateless population, are not included in the residency documents holders.

The table thus excludes the Bidoun residents, the non-Kuwaiti GCC citizens and those in irregular situation.


2. Institution which provides data


Ministry of Interior


3. Period of data coverage


December 31st, given years


4. Data availability


2009′ data is published in MoI’ 2009 Statistical Yearbook, in Chapter “Immigration statistics”, available online at:

Last date of access: September 3rd, 2013.


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