Thousands of Indians leave India to work in foreign countries, for prestigious work in a multinational company or small domestic jobs for their survival. They work hard and save every ounce just to send money back home, so their family can be well fed as well as India’s economy. Knowingly or unknowingly, millions of Indian civilians out there driving trucks, cleaning household, getting minimum wages and other employees are being a major part of many developed countries. Kuwait’s currency is one of the costly currencies in the world. 1 Kuwaiti Dinar equals 252 rupees at the Indian rate. So, 100 Kuwaiti Dinar makes 25,200 rupees, hence lakhs of Indians are leaving the country to work in Kuwait. During old times getting the visa for Kuwait was not as difficult as for America or European countries. Even village people, low cast illiterates can go to Kuwait in pursue of a better life, imagining to save their family from the brink of poverty. Their dream did come true. But, the sudden introduction of the new law, which is being imposed by the Kuwait government has turned their fates and stirred worry and fear among Indians, as at least 8 lakh civilians will lose their job and forced to return India. Kuwait government has brought a new bill through which it plans to implement quota on Expat. Expats are migrants that leave their country in search of works from minimum to large scale jobs to live temporarily on the country they are employed. One month before, the prime minister of Kuwait has informed that they are planning to reduce the percentage of Expats from 70% to 30%. On account of this plan, the Kuwait government has approved “An Expat quota bill”.
Kuwait is a small country in West Asia with Kuwait-city as its capital. If we put it in a perspective way, it is even smaller than India’s Manipur in size. But the entire country is dependent on the oil economy, hence thousands of people from all around the world are employed. In its effort for reducing the number of foreign workers in gulf country, the National Committee of Kuwait has approved a draft Expat quota bill, through which major of Indians will become unemployed and kicked out. This Expat quota bill is constitutional, determined the legal and legislative committee of the National Assembly. According to the bill, only 15% of the Indian population will be admitted and others will have to leave. Kuwait is a country with 43 lakh population density. While Kuwaitis make up only 13 lakhs and the remaining 30 lakhs are covered by Expats making it 70% of the total population. Within the Expats population, India constitutes 14.5 lakh taking up to half of the Expat population. since the Indian population cannot exceed above 15%, only 6.5 lakh will be allowed to keep their jobs, leaving other 8 lakhs unemployed and homeless.
Coronavirus and oil prices:
Many cases tested positive in Kuwait were the Expats, causing this bill to be approved. Another reason is oil prices. The entire world’s 60% of oil production comes from Kuwait. But to extract the oil required domestic workers who will be satisfied with low minimum wages, hence Kuwait started to recruit ex-pats from all around the world. Kuwait is also known among rich countries in the world, the main reason is oil production. Once the oil production started, they required engineers, workers, and recruited them. As they began earning, Kuwaitis life started to improve and well settled. Now they needed drivers, cleaners, household workers, managers who were filled by Indians and Egyptians. 7 lakh Indians there are under government sector workers like nurses and engineers, while 5.2 lakhs are working under private sectors within which 7000 children are studying in Kuwait school. The rest are working domestic workers whose families weren’t given resident in Kuwait. Till March of 2020, Kuwait required them as they know work without them would not be done. But once the beginning of coronavirus, voices against Expats were raised. Hence the job of discarding Expats began in Kuwait. 90% of Kuwait’s revenue comes from oil production. If the oil price is high, Kuwait is rich. If oil prices are low, so does Kuwait’s economy. Since the beginning of this year, oil prices have steadily dropped. As the trading of oil is also slowed, with even reduced prices, Kuwait is on its verge of crisis. Forcing the money kept for other things to be spent on steading their country. So, when questions are raised against the government, they search for a soft target. Which seemed to be the Expats. Hence the new Expat quota bill was planned and now approved, leaving 8 lakh Indians unemployed and return to India. Target is not only Indians but also other ex-pats like Egyptians fall victim. According to the report, Indians will be slowly removed step by step.
According to the reports, the ex-pats who come to work in Kuwait are illiterate. According to the minister who produced the bill, he accused that there is a real problem in the population structure of Kuwait. And more importantly, 13 lakhs out of 30 lakh Expats are illiterate or only slightly knows to read and write and it is this population they are trying to discard as Kuwait doesn’t need them now. Till two months before, the Government of Kuwait saw valuable labor in them and had no problem with their employee, but once their economy decreases, they have no use of them. But the minister also added that when Kuwait recruit workers it ensures that they are doctors or skilled manpower, and there is no need for illiterate people among them. Because of some fraud among visa traders, the population of illiterate people has increased. According to a survey in 2018 reports that most low skilled workers of India are headed to UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait respectively. 57,613 workers who headed to Kuwait in 2018 were low skilled workers.
With this bill, the most affected ones will be Indians and the Indian economy. Kuwait covers 14% of the international revenue of India. Not only does the economy of the country but also the lives of the people who have saved little by working hard in another country will be damaged. India’s economy, people’s daily spending, and their lives will all be affected by this one law. The Indian embassy in Kuwait hasn’t said anything yet. COVID-19 has made us face many difficulties and one among those is this law. As working day by day, they have forgotten that one day they would have to return home. India is their home, but the questions arise is whether India is ready to accept them? Even if they are here, do they have the chance of employment? What will they do? How are they going to carry on their life here? Only time can answer.