Kuwait’s population is currently 70-per-cent foreign workers. Under the new legislation, the government must act to cut the number of foreign nationals living in the country in the next 12 months so that they reduce to 30 per cent of the population.
In total, Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah implied that as many as 2.5 million people would need to leave the country.
Employees receiving support for chronic diseases to leave
News reports suggest that the Gulf country’s expatriate labour force is ‘bearing the brunt’ of the economic hit that Covid-19 and low oil prices has caused. An August news report from the Kuwait Times suggests that as many as 360,000 foreign workers, many of them labourers, could be forced to leave the country. Around 150,000 of those at the risk of being exported are expats aged over 60, including employees, dependents and those suffering from chronic diseases, according to the Kuwait Times.
The mechanisms that the government will have to put into effect will consider the number of expats present in Kuwait, the country’s national development plan and its requirement of expat workers, according to the law, reports note. Guidelines concerning the transfer of residency for expats and policies to replace expats with Kuwaiti employees will also be issued.
Limit on business expat numbers
In July 2020, Kuwait's National Assembly passed a law stipulating that Indians should not exceed 15 per cent of the population (they currently make up roughly 30 per cent of the population), while Egyptians, Filipinos and Sri Lankans must not account for more than 10 per cent each of the population; and Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, Nepalis and Vietnamese must not surpass five per cent each.
The law also imposes a limit on the number of expats a business can recruit each year, with regulations based on their specialisations.
What impact will this have on the quality of life for those expats left working in the area, and how will this, in turn, affect the penetration of insurance offerings such as international private medical insurance in the region?