Kuwait Expatriate Bill


  • Kuwait’s National Assembly committee has recently approved a draft expat quota bill in seeking to reduce the number of foreign workers from Kuwait.
  • The Prime Minister has proposed to reduce the number of expats from 70% to 30% of 4.3 million populations in the country.
  • The bill has been introduced mainly on account of addressing a slump in oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic.


  • The bill has been introduced mainly on account of addressing a slump in oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic.
  • There are currently about 3 million expatriate population, whereas Kuwaitis are merely making up 1.3 million of the total population in the country.
  • It is pointed out that there is a serious problem in population structure where more than two-thirds of the population are expatriates. 

Implications on India:

  • It is interesting to note that in Kuwait the size of the expatriate population is about 3 million, of which the Indian community constitutes about 45 million, the largest expatriate community in the country.
  • This is almost half of the expatriate population in Kuwait.
  • If the Expat Bill becomes the law, India too will be severely affected as this may force about 8, 00,000 Indians to leave Kuwait.
  • In accordance with this Bill, Indians should not exceed 15% of the total population in Kuwait.
  • Consequently, it would substantially reduce the number of remittances flowing into India. Kuwait is considered to be one of the major sources of remittances for India.
  • It is found that India received nearly $4.8 billion from Kuwait as remittances in 2018. This is quite a huge amount that came from Kuwait.
  • It is also reported by the Indian embassy in Kuwait that there are about 28,000 Indians working for the Kuwaiti Government in various jobs like nurses, engineers in national oil companies and a few as scientists.
  • It is important to note that the majority of Indians (5.23 lakh) are employed in private In addition, there are about 1.16 lakh dependents.
  • Out of these, there are about 60,000 Indian students studying in 23 Indian schools in the country. Private sectors have to consider their own economic wisdom while deciding the employees.
  • This kind of localization policy has been brought by many Gulf States but has never been successful in reducing the size of expatriate workers in the GCC countries.

Way Forward

  • The presence of Indian workers is not going to be affected in the Gulf countries especially in Kuwait in the long term.
  • However, Indian workers are to be returned to India due to the present global crisis created by Covid-19 Pandemic.
  • India should be ready to bring back them and use their skills for national development in our country.
  • Again, there will an opportunity soon after the crisis gets over.
  • India must use our human resource by providing appropriate skills and training that could meet the requirement of the labour market in India and abroad in the coming days.

Back to Basics

  • The six countries that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council are Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.
  • They host the majority of the estimated 23 million migrant workers living in the Arab states, most under the kafala system that binds them to the employer as reported by Amnesty International.
  • The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are in fact emerging as one of the major sources of the destination of millions of immigrants especially from the South Asian countries such as India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan and now Nepal.
  • The six GCC countries together constitutes over more than 52 per cent of the non-nationals in their population.
  • The six GCC states host almost 30 per cent Indian community of the total expatriate in the region.

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