Kuwait City: Around eight lakh Indian nationals could be forced to leave Kuwait as the West Asian country has been taking far-reaching measures, including limiting the count of expatriates, to ensure jobs for its nationals.
As per the new bill, the expat population would be limited in proportion to the native population. Thus, the Indian expat population will not be allowed to exceed 15 per cent. Currently, there are 14.5 lakh Indians in Kuwait, thus forming the largest expat community in the Gulf state.
The draft expat quota bill has already received the assent of the legal and legislative committee of the National Assembly, the legislature of the Middle East kingdom. The panel has endorsed the bill as constitutional and suggested a comprehensive plan to execute it.
The bill will now be vetted by another legislative committee before becoming a law.
During the initial stages of the COVID-19 outbreak, several legal experts and senior government officials in the kingdom had voiced concerns over the increasing number of expats in the country.
Kuwait Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al Khalid Al Sabah had said last month that the expat population must be brought down from 70 per cent to 30 per cent.
Currently, the total population of Kuwait is 43 lakh. Of this, 13 lakh are natives and 30 lakh are expats.
Amid a slump in oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a spike in anti-expat rhetoric as lawmakers and government officials call for reducing the number of foreigners in Kuwait.
According to the Indian embassy in Kuwait, there are about 28,000 Indians working for the Kuwaiti Government in various jobs like nurses, engineers in national oil companies and a few as scientists.
The majority of Indians (5.23 Lakh) are deployed in private sectors. In addition, there are about 1.16 lakh dependents. Out of these, there are about 60,000 Indian students studying in 23 Indian schools in the country.