Kuwait expat bill cleared, 8 lakh Indians could be forced to leave
The legal and legislative committee of Kuwait’s National Assembly (Parliament) has approved a draft expat quota bill which could result in eight lakh Indians leaving the country.
According to the committee, the draft bill is constitutional and seeks to limit the number of Indians to 15 per cent of the population. It will now be transferred to the respective committee so that a comprehensive plan is created.
The move comes a month after Kuwait’s prime minister had said that the country’s expatriate population should be reduced from 70 to 30 per cent of the total.
“We have a future challenge to redress this imbalance,” Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah told a local media publication, and the statement was released by state-run Kuwait News Agency or KUNA.
Foreigners account for 3.4 million of Kuwait’s 4.8 million population, according to government data cited by local news outlets.
Gulf News cited local media reports to say that the new bill could see eight lakh Indians leaving Kuwait, “as the Indian community constitutes the largest expat community in Kuwait, totalling 1.45 million”.
There are, however, many critics of the quota approach (thereby reducing the number of expats) propounded by some of the Kuwaiti lawmakers since the prime minister’s statement.
On Twitter, users reacted with anger.
“The deputies at Kuwait National Assembly should have their mental health regularly checked!” tweeted a user who goes by a single username M.
“Wait, next shocking news will be from UAE,” tweeted Salem Faisal.
The anti-expat rhetoric have spiked since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic with lawmakers and governmental officials call for reducing the number of foreigners in Kuwait.
According to latest data from Johns Hopkins University, more than 49,000 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the Gulf country.