With the Kuwait government deciding to halve the Gulf country’s expatriate population to 30% of the total, amid a slump in oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic, around 8 lakh Indians could be forced to leave the country.
Kuwait National Assembly has approved the draft ‘Expat Quota Bill’, according to which Indians should not exceed 15% of the country’s population. Reportedly, the bill will now be transferred to the respective committee so that a comprehensive plan can be created.
Kuwait has the highest percentage of expat population in the world. Of Kuwait’s total population of 43 lakhs, 30 lakh is the expat population, out of which 14.5 lakhs comprises of Indians. Consequently, this could result in 8 lakh Indians having to leave the tiny gulf country.
The anti-expat rhetoric has been on the spike since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic with lawmakers and governmental officials calling out for a reduction in the number of foreigners residing in Kuwait.
Last month, Kuwait’s prime minister, Sheikh Sabah Al Khalid Al Sabah had proposed decreasing the number of expats from 70 per cent to 30 per cent of the population.
Foreigners have accounted for majority of Kuwait’s virus cases as the disease spread among migrant workers living in overcrowded housing facilities. While Kuwait lifted its 24-hour curfew on Sunday, some areas remain under isolation in a bid to stem the outbreak.
According to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University, more than 49,000 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the country. & the death toll stands at 368. The figures still seem low when compared with the destruction caused by the deadly virus in other parts of the world, but the cases have been gradually on the rise in the whole of middle east & Kuwait has not been an exception.