The number of expats living in Kuwait declined by 19 percent last year amid the Gulf state’s crackdown on illegal immigrants and workers, according to official statistics. Kuwait is home to some 2.16m expatriates from 23 countries, data from the Ministry of Interior Migration General Department showed. Officials said the decline in the number of expats followed “efforts to tackle human trade, deport violators and ration the labour market”. Kuwait, like most GCC countries, relies heavily on expatriate workers to fill jobs at all levels of the economy. Over half of foreigners in the country are employed by private sector companies. The oil-rich Gulf state has been cracking down on illegal workers. Police arrested hundreds of foreign workers on Monday for violating laws and suspected involvement in illegal businesses. Over 700 expats have been arrested in the last few days, Arab Times reported on Saturday. Indians account for the largest group of expatriates in Kuwait with up to 653,223 residents living in the Gulf state, followed by Egyptians (653,223), Bangladesh and the Filipino community.