Kuwait: Nearly 1.5 million expats to leave by end of year

Mask-clad residents walk in a neighbourhood of Kuwait City on May 12, 2020, as authorities allowed people to exercise for two hours under a nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (File/AFP)
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Almost 1.5 million expatriate workers are expected to leave Kuwait by year’s end as economic slowdown due to the coronavirus pandemic forced companies to cut their workforce to save on costs and remain afloat.

Likewise, the government’s decision to lower the number of expats living in the country, through a new residency law, and its continuing Kuwaitization of jobs in the public sector also hit migrant workers.

Over 158,000 expat workers have already left the country only in a span of 116 days, or from March 16 until July 9, many of whom have been laid off because of the coronavirus crisis, local newspaper Arab Times reported.

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The Egyptian and Indian expats communities were hit the hardest, the report said.

The draft of Kuwait’s new residency law would limit the number of foreign nationals recruited by companies each year and will include regulations based on their skills, Interior Minister Anas Al-Saleh was earlier reported as saying.

The Kuwait parliament aims to have the legislation ready by October, prior to the November elections.

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