Kuwait is deciding to dramatically reduce its dependence on the expatriate population and India will have a direct impact on this decision. With a slump in oil prices and COVID-19 pandemic, around 8 lakh Indians could be forced to leave Kuwait.
Kuwait National Assembly’s legal and legislative committee has approved the draft expat quota bill, according to which Indians should not exceed 15% of the population. The bill will now be transferred to the respective committee so that a comprehensive plan is created, according to reports.
Gulf News reported that ‘this could result in 800,000 Indians leaving Kuwait, as the Indian community comprises the biggest expat community in Kuwait, totalling 1.45 million’. Of the 4.3 million population of Kuwait, expats account nearly for a whopping 3 million population.
The anti-expat euphuism have intensified since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic with government officials call for limiting the number of foreigners in Kuwait. The report stated that ‘last month, Kuwait’s PM, Sheikh Sabah Al Khalid Al Sabah, recommended lowering the number of expats from 70 per cent to 30 per cent of the population’.
Kuwait is also a massive source of remittances for India. In 2018, India received approximately to $4.8 billion from Kuwait as remittances. India has often in the past played up the role of the Indian community in Kuwait as a crucial determinant in bilateral relations.