Kuwait plans mass deportation of expat workers

Published:  8 Jul at 6 PM
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Tagged: Citizenship, India, Jobs
Expats in Kuwait are being warned over new plans to deport over two million expats.

The threat of Kuwaitisation has been at the back of expats’ minds for the past few years, but the actuality may be closer than many believe. Pressure to drastically reduce expat numbers at all levels has been the main activity of a group of parliamentarians, but has mostly been focused on making it more difficult and less pleasant as an expat destination.

News from the emirate’s manpower development division would suggest time is now running out for long-stay expats who’ve helped the country to become a power in the Middle East by using their expertise and experience. Also badly affected will be the several million unqualified workers who keep the emirate going at a more basic level.

The Kuwaiti government is now being roundly criticised in parliament for failing to keep its promise of Kuwait jobs for Kuwaiti citizens, even although the general opinion is that many jobs are too menial to attract the local unemployed. Backers of the new initiative include those supporting a draft law stating that one million expats must leave within three months.

Expats in government jobs will also be banished, and low-paid workers will simply be deported. In addition, a draft law designating percentages of the local population will be applied to foreign workers. For example, Indian expats should not exceed 15 per cent of the general population, with Filipinos, Bangladeshis and Egyptians limited to 10 per cent. All told, achieving these levels would result in the deportation of 2.5 million workers. Residency laws are also to be changed to facilitate Kuwaitisation.

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