Kuwait Expat Bill : 8 Lakh Indian Expats in Kuwait may be Forced to Leave
Indian Expats in Kuwait: Kuwait is a small country in West Asia with a population just over 43 lakhs which is somewhat equal to the population of Tripura. People from all around the world visit Kuwait looking for jobs. However, expats from around the world make upto 70% of population of Kuwait. In other words Kuwaitis make up only 13 lakhs while remaining population are the expats from around the around.
Recently Kuwait has approved a Kuwait Expat Quota bill. The bill determines the limit of foreigners allowed to stay in Kuwait. As per the bill, the Kuwait government is planning to reduce the expat population in country from 70% to 30%. After this bill, lakhs of foreign expats are expected to lose their job. According to the bill, only 15% of the Indian population will be admitted and others will have to leave.
Of the total expat population in Kuwait, Indian population is around 14.5 lakhs that is almost half of the expats population in Kuwait. After the bill, around 8 lakh Indian are set to lose their job and have to return back to India. Lakhs of Indians visit Kuwait every year looking for a job. Indians there work as engineers, doctors, nurses as well as domestic workers. This bill comes as a shocker and end of dreams of lakhs of Indians living in Kuwait.
Indian Expats in Kuwait : Why is Government of Kuwait taking this Step?
The bill to reduce the number of expats living in Kuwait may take a year or two to get implemented. However, the ones living there have already started feeling the heat. Several reasons can be attributed to this step of Kuwait’s government.
Coronavirus pandemic can be considered as one of the important causes for Kuwait government taking such a step. Till date 52,000 cases have been reported in Kuwait and majority of the cases are among the expats living in the country. The pandemic has impacted the economy and therefore to reduce the burden on economy the bill was introduced.
Falling Oil Prices
The economy of Kuwait is massively dependent on oil. Around 60% of world oil production comes from Kuwait. However, in recent times the prices of oil in the world market has fallen massively which has led to a huge hit on the economy of Kuwait.
Maintaining the Demographic Balance
The population of Kuwait is 43 lakh population of which only 13-14 lakhs are Kuwaitis. Therefore the bill is aimed to make sure that Kuwaiti interests are protected in a deteriorating economy
How does this Bill Impact Indian Expats in Kuwait?
Indians form the largest expat population in Kuwait followed by Egypt. Around 15 lakhs Indians live in Kuwait. The population includes the ones working in Government departments of Kuwait, working in Private sectors and the ones who are dependent on them. As per report over 60,000 Indians are studying in schools all around Kuwait.
After this bill, the Indian population in Kuwait is set to be capped to 15% of the total population. This will lead to 7-8 lakh Indians returning back to India. Added to it, there will be huge loss of remittance for India from Kuwait. Kuwait is one of the top source of remittance for India. The bill will lead to more unemployment in India.
Migrant workers whether it is within India or outside India are going through hard times due to Coronavirus. However, the workers are regulated by the local laws and have to follow them. The bill introduced by the Government of Kuwait may act as a protectionist bill for their people but it puts the future of migrant worker or expats in darkness mainly the future of Indian expats in Kuwait.