India on Thursday said it was closely following developments relating to the proposed expat quota bill by Kuwait that could severely impact the Indian community as it seeks to significantly slash the number of foreign workers in the Gulf country.
Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs Anurag Srivastava said the issue figured during recent telephonic conversation between foreign ministers of the two countries.
According to reports, some 8 lakh Indians could be forced to leave Kuwait if the proposed legislation is given legal status.
“We are closely following the developments in Kuwait. This matter has been discussed between foreign ministers of India and Kuwait. We share excellent bilateral ties which are deeply rooted in people to people linkages,” Srivastava said during an online media briefing.
“The Indian community in Kuwait is well regarded in Kuwait and elsewhere in the Gulf region and their contributions are well recognised. We have shared our expectations that Kuwait’s decision will take into account,” he said.
According to the bill, Indians should not exceed 15 per cent of Kuwait’s population.
This could result in 800,000 Indians leaving Kuwait, as the Indian community constitutes the largest expat community in the country, totalling 1.45 million, the Gulf News reported, citing a report in a leading Kuwaiti newspaper.
Amid a slump in oil prices following the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a spike in anti-expat rhetoric in Kuwait as lawmakers and government officials called for reducing the number of foreigners in that country.
Last month, Kuwait’s Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al Khalid Al Sabah proposed reducing the number of expats from 70 per cent to 30 per cent of the population, the report said.