Udayavni Special

Kuwait approves expat quota bill: How will the legislation affect Indians?


Team Udayavani, Jul 6, 2020, 12:06 PM IST

Kuwait government on Sunday, July 5, approved an expat quota bill which limits the number of Indians living in the Gulf nation. The draft expat quota bill would force over eight lakh Indian expats to leave the nation. The bill will be transferred to another committee for a comprehensive plan to be chalked out.

It mandates that the Indians in Kuwait should not exceed 15 per cent of the natio’s total population. The development comes as last month, Kuwaiti Prime Minister (PM) Sheikh Sabah Al Khalid Al Sabah had proposed to decrease the number of expats in the nation from over 70 per cent of the population to 30 per cent of it.

MPs have already called to replace all expat jobs in the government within one year.

Kuwait has at least 650,000 expatriates, mostly from the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, who are employed as domestic workers alone.

Also, recent data shows that more than 49,000 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the country out of which majority of the infection cases have been reported among foreigners as they  live in overcrowded housing facilities.

Sources claim that expatriates in the public sector will be screened and those who work on the basis of the system of assignment and services, as well as those in non-technical jobs will be terminated.

The contracts of those working on contract basis will not be renewed, regardless of their position, especially consultants in governmental agencies. The government sectors will develop educational and training programs to prepare Kuwaiti youth to occupy specialized jobs.

The development has come in the wake of coronavirus pandemic. Several Lawmakers and government officials have been calling for a reduced number of foreigners in Kuwait in order to provide more and better employment opportunities to their local population.

Kuwaiti lawmaker, Safa Al Hashem, has been leading a campaign for the past several years to reduce the expatriate population in the country.

Safa claimed that if the expat population increases, then Kuwaitis will become minorities in their own country.

She also said that many may also be unemployed which will eventually lead to poverty.

Safa appealed the government to evict at least 2 million expatriates in the next couple of years to rectify the ‘demographic imbalance’

How will Indians be affected by the legislative

Expats account for 3 million of Kuwait’s 4.8 million population and Indian nationals form the largest expat community of Kuwait, with a size of over 1.45 million people.

As soon as the law comes into effect, Kuwaiti government would ask nearly 8,00,000 Indians to leave the nation

In June, Kuwait said that it will ban the employment of expatriates in state-owned Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) and its subsidiaries for the year 2020-21

The decision also calls for freezing employment applications from expats, cancelling appointments under process and not renewing the contracts of existing employees.

However, India has not yet made any statement on the issue but it is said that Indian embassy has been following the developments related to the new bill.

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