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Expatriates worried over Kuwait’s proposed quota Bill

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on July 06, 2020 Published on July 06, 2020

Over 8 lakh Indians may be forced to leave Kuwait after the recent approval to the draft expat quota Bill, that seeks to gradually reduce the number of foreign workers in the Gulf country, by the Legal and Legislative Centre of Kuwait National Assembly.

The draft Bill limits the expatriate Indians to 15 per cent of Kuwait’s population. There are nearly 14.5 lakh Indians in Kuwait.

The Bill is expected to be vetted by another legislative committee.

Kuwait has a total population of 43 lakh of which, 13 lakh are natives and the remaining expatriates. The remittance from Kuwait to India is also high and stood at $4.8 billion in 2018.

Deepu (name changed) who works as an engineer in Kuwait for more than a decade, told BusinessLine that the Covid pandemic and the crash in oil prices have prompted the authorities to introduce the Bill to reduce the number of expatriates. There were similar proposals earlier to reduce jobs as well as wages of the expatriate community. But nothing materialised so far.

If the current bill becomes a law, he said the unskilled workers would be the worst hit. However, the objections raised by Kuwaitis themselves against the passing of the bill, citing the possible shortage of workers in that country, is definitely a ray of hope for the Indian community, he added.

Krishnan Ramachandran, CEO, Barjeel Geojit Securities, Dubai, said that Kuwait plans to slowly phase out its dependency on expatriate workers. The draft law proposed to gradually reduce the expat numbers from the existing 70 per cent over the next few years. The move is likely to affect 1.30 million unskilled and illiterate expatriates who constitute nearly 40 per cent of the overall population.

Out of the 3.30 million expatriates in Kuwait, the Indian community constitutes about 50 per cent and hence is likely to be the most affected.

“The general perception is that it will take five years and more for the expat reductions to happen after the new law is put in place,” he added.

 

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Published on July 06, 2020
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