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Kuwait expat quota Bill to expel 8 lakh Indians

The Bill aimed at reducing the dependence on foreigners has been approved by the legislative panel and is likely to be passed before the parliamentary elections by year-end. The expatriates currently constitute 70% of the people.

KUWAIT, July 9: Faced with an economy crippled by coronavirus epidemic, Kuwait is ready with a Bill to cut the expat population. Expatriates currently form 70% of the total population of 43 lakh in Kuwait ie 30 lakh. The Bill will reduce them to 30% of the total population.

According to the Bill, Indian’s should not exceed 15% of the population. This could result in 8 lakh Indians leaving Kuwait as the Indian community constitutes the largest expat community in Kuwait, totalling 14.5 lakh. Likewise quota has been fixed for other countries.

When the Bill is enacted, 8 lakh of the 14.5 lakh Indians in Kuwait will be forced to return. Kerala will be the worst affected.

The Bill was approved by the legal committee of the National Assembly on July 2. However, in the past also similar attempts were made to cut down on expatriates but nothing has been achieved.

The current coronavirus crisis and the consequent fall in oil demand have pushed the Government to cut the expat workforce. Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Hamad al-Sabah has said the country is facing a “big challenge" with expats far outnumbering Kuwaitis, who are only 30% now.

Meanwhile, the Kuwaitisation process is going on in Government departments, terminating foreign workers and employing local people. However, many Government agencies acknowledge the difficulty in appointing Kuwaiti citizens due to their reluctance to take up such jobs because of low salaries or the position does not meet their expectations.

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