Media reports on Tuesday stated “majority of government ministries” in Kuwait have begun to terminate expatriates working for them, particularly those in “non-technical” fields.
Arab Times, an English language publication in Kuwait, reported, “It is expected more than 50 per cent of expats working for sub-contractors will be laid off in the next three months. Whereas all expats working directly in ministries will be terminated, many of them have already been shifted to companies which are subcontractors”. Expatriates who work in fields requiring “expertise” will be terminated on a gradual basis, so that work is not disrupted.
According to statistics, as of December 2019, of the 3 million expatriates in Kuwait, 120,000 worked in the government sector.
The head of the parliamentary human resources development committee, MP Khalil Al Saleh, was quoted in reports as saying, “The committee has taken concrete steps to address the issue in the demographic imbalance. We will be holding a meeting next week to prepare a report, with data and statistics, that we will present to the National Assembly.”
The move to terminate expatriates is part of the process of ‘Kuwaitisation’, the government policy introduced in 2018 to ensure that Kuwaitis held the majority of jobs. In 2018, around 50,000 expatriates holding government jobs were terminated.
The move could hit Indian expatriates in Kuwait. According to the Indian Embassy in Kuwait, there were about 28,000 Indians working for the Kuwaiti government, as of early July, in various jobs like nurses, engineers in national oil companies and a few as scientists. The majority of Indians (5.23 Lakh) are employed in the private sector.
In June, the Kuwaiti National Assembly introduced a quota bill to cut population of expatriates from the current percentage of 70 per cent of population to 30 per cent. According to the bill, Indians should not exceed 15 per cent of Kuwait’s population. This could result in 800,000 Indians leaving Kuwait, as the Indian community constitutes the largest expat community in the country, which has a total population of 4.3 million.
Kuwait is a top source of remittances for India. In 2018, India received nearly $4.8 billion from Kuwait as remittances.
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