Report By: Nandika Chand | Last Updated June 4, 2020
Kuwait is set to reduce its expatriate population to 30 per cent of the total. With foreigners making up 3.4 million of the oil-producing nation’s 4.8 million people, lawmakers have renewed calls to reduce the number of migrant workers. There are about 100,000 expatriate government employees in Kuwait.
Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah described this as one of the Kuwait’s contentious issues. He said the MPs are calling for a quota system and replacing the expatriate government employees as well. Most of the expatriates, working as domestic helpers in Kuwait, are from Sri Lanka, India, Philippines and Bangladesh. They make up 50 per cent of Kuwaitis. Sources reveal expats tend to earn better incomes in low-tax environment. However, they are vulnerable with few safety nets or routes to citizenship.
According to data by the United Nations, Saudi Arabia is the world’s second-biggest destination for migrants, while the United Arab Emirates hosted more migrants in 2019 than France or Canada. It said Gulf economies leverage their oil wealth to boost their populations with foreign workers and build vibrant consumer societies.
Over the years, Kuwait has been slowly and steadily replacing its public sector expatriates with nationals. And the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated this effort as foreigners accounted for the virus.
India will greatly be impacted by Kuwait’s move to do away with expatriates as Indians make up over 30 per cent of the total expatriate workforce in the region.