Around 7 to 8 lakhs Indians could be forced out of Kuwait if the new bill on expats is enacted into law by the parliamentary committee of Kuwait’s National Assembly has approved the draft expat quota will, slashing the number of expats from 70% to 30% of the total population, according to a report by the Press Trust of India.
PTI reports that the Kuwaiti’s National Assembly’s legal and legislative committee found that the draft expat quota bill, with which the government had intended to reduce the number of foreign workers in the country, was constitutional.
Due to the economic crisis and rising unemployment by the Corona, Kuwait is likely to enact a legislation that is expected to bring down migrants from any other country to 15% of Kuwait population. Kuwait, having a total of population of 4.3 million of which 3 million are migrants in which a total of 14.5 lakhs are Indians. The Indian expatriate community which is the largest expat group in Kuwait is limited to 15% quota means the number of Indian will be limited to 6.5-7 lakhs. This was the resultant of the epidemic and a slump in oil prices on Kuwait economy leading to the controversy over migrants in the country few months ago.
The legislators and administrators stated that:
the demographic imbalance had spawned problems in recent years and has got catalysed due to the pandemic. Also, the foreigners were allegedly held accountable for the majority of COVID-19 cases, as the spread of the disease amongst the migrant workers living in overcrowded housing conditions Addressing to the problem of Kuwait’s becoming a minority in it’s own country, last month Kuwait’s Prime Minister Sheik Sabah Al Khalid Al Sabah proposed reduction in the number of expats from 70% to 30% of the total population and stressed up on the real problem of Kuwait’s population structure.
The comprehensive expats bill will be referrer to the concerned committee. The law also aims at limiting the numbers of migrant’s recruitment by companies and will include regulation based on their skill. According to the Indian Embassy in Kuwait, there are about 28000 Indian working for the Kuwaiti Government and approximately 5.23 lakh in private sectors and 1.16 lakh dependent. Out of these, there are about 60,000 Indian students in the country.
The draft law specifies country wise caps designating a quota for migrants allowed to work in Kuwait. For example: the expat bill states quota for two of its largest expatriate communities i.e. Indians and Egyptians.
This year in April, the Kuwaiti government had also announced a ‘pardon plan’ for the illegal migrants to encourage them to leave the country. The pardon plan includes pardoning and exempting them from punishment and providing free flight tickets to return to their respective countries.
Kuwait is a country dependent on foreigners. Indians work in every part of Kuwait and make a significant contribution to the economy there. Indian Embassy has been closely following these developments related to the proposed legislation. India has not made any statement on the issue so far.