Amidst growing economic slump in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with the growing phenomenon of Islamophobia among NRIs, the Kuwaiti National Assembly committee has approved a draft expat quota bill, which could force around 8 lakh Indians to leave the Gulf country.
According to Kuwait Times, Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem said that he and a group of lawmakers will submit a comprehensive draft law calling for a gradual reduction of expats in the country.
Ghanam said that his country faced a real problem in its population structure with 70 % of population being foreign nationals. He said that it was a matter of concern that 1.3 million of the 3.35 million expats were ‘either illiterate or can merely read and write.’ Ghanam said that Kuwait did not need such a workforce.
According to the new bill, Indians must not exceed 15% of the population, meaning that around 8 lakh of them may be forced to leave Kuwait. The number of Indians working in Kuwait is believed to be 1.45 million.
Dubai’s Gulf News reported that since the beginning of the pandemic, Kuwait had seen a spike in anti-expat rhetoric as lawmakers and government officials called for reducing the number of foreigners. Last month, Kuwait’s prime minister, Sheikh Sabah Al Khalid Al Sabah, proposed decreasing the number of expats from 70 per cent to 30 per cent of the population.
This also coincided with a period of incredible anger against Indians indulging in Islamophobia. Kuwaiti authorities had to take punitive action against several Indians spreading Islamophobia as the Hindutva fanatics ran a dirty campaign against Muslims in India by blaming them for the spread of the coronavirus.
Indians have accounted for the most number of COVID-19 cases. As cases of Islamophobia assumed alarming proportions in India, many prominent Kuwaiti citizens had used the growing number of Indians being infected with the virus as an example of the Gulf country’s tolerance towards people of other faiths.