Kuwait Bans Entry Of Citizens From 7 Countries, Including India

Kuwait now has banned the entry of citizens from 7 countries, including India. According to the DGCA, anyone who spent the last 14 days in countries like India, Bangladesh, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Iran and Nepal shall not be allowed to enter Kuwait. But this is not a ban on the nationals from these countries. But the nationals from these 7 countries can enter Kuwait through specified procedures if they travel from other permitted countries. Earlier, the country cleared the expat draft bill which might require over 8 lakh Indians to leave the country. Interestingly, around 1.36 Indians live abroad and one-fourth of them live in the UAE. 

Kuwait Bans Direct Entry Of Citizens From 7 Countries Including India

The DGCA announced that anyone who spent the last 14 days in 7 countries- Bangladesh, Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Iran, and Nepal, won’t get permission to enter Kuwait. But this is not a ban on the nationals from these countries. They are free to enter Kuwait through specified procedures as long they are travelling from other permitted countries. So this means, citizens of these 7 banned countries can travel to another permitted country, stay there for 14 days and then enter Kuwait. But they must have a PCR certificate which shows that they are coronavirus negative and follow the health procedures. Meanwhile, India extended ban on international flights till August 31. 

Over 8 lakh Indians Might Have To Leave Kuwait Since Draft Expat Quota Bill Gets Cleared

Kuwait’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah proposed a reduction in the number of expats from 70% to 30% of the total population of Kuwait. Government data reveals that foreigners account for 3.4 million ( 34 lakhs) of Kuwait’s 4.8 million ( 48 lakhs) population. He released a statement to Kuwait News Agency “We have a future challenge to redress this imbalance.”  In June, The Gulf countries Kuwait and Saudi Arabia recorded the highest temperature ever on earth. 

Gulf News informed that this new bill can witness 8 lakh Indians leaving Kuwait, “as the Indian community constitutes the largest expat community in Kuwait, totalling 1.45 million”. Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been a spike in anti-expat rhetoric. Lawmakers and governmental officials called for reducing the number of foreigners in Kuwait. So the bill also calls for reducing the number of Egyptians. They form the second largest expatriate community, a total of 10% of Kuwait’s total population.

Also Read: UAE Ranked Safest Arab Country Amid Covid-19

The Assembly Speaker States That Kuwait Doesn’t Really Need  Many Of Its Illiterate Expats

Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem states to Kuwait TV “I understand that we recruit doctors and skilled manpower and not unskilled labourer. This is an indication that there is a distortion. Visa traders have contributed in increasing this figure.” He added that the draft legislation will include a limit on the expat community, whose numbers must be decreased by permitting 70% one year and 65% in the following year.

The Speaker also said that Kuwait has a real problem in its population structure in which 70% are expats. He added that its a serious situation that 1.3 million our of the 3.35 million expats are either illiterate or can hardly read or write. So they are the people that Kuwait doesn’t really need, reports Kuwait Times. A survey recently revealed that GCC countries will return to International travel by August and September. 

Kuwait Is Working To Reduce Dependency Of Foreign Workers

Kuwait is also a top source for remittances in India. The Gulf country’s own citizens turned into a minority. So Kuwait has been working to reduce its dependency on its foreign workers. The bill is witnessed as a manifestation of the fact that Kuwait no longer wants to remain an expat majority country. Coronavirus and slump in oil prices also contributed to these factors. According to official sources, the Indian embassy is closely following the developments related to the proposed legislation. However, India has not many statement on the issue.

Also Read: India Announces 14 Day Quarantine For Passengers Flying From UAE & Other GCC Countries

Official sources said the Indian embassy was closely following developments related to the proposed legislation. India has so far not made any statement on the issue. India has often in the past played up the role of the Indian community in Kuwait, as an important factor in bilateral ties. The Ministry of External Affairs ( MEA) states that Indians are present in all segments of society in Kuwait. They are largely considered disciplined, law-abiding and hardworking. With the draft expat quota bill cleared by the Kuwait National Assembly’s legal and legislative committee, it is definitely a matter of concern if 8 lakh Indians might be forced to leave Kuwait.

Sanjana Shenoy
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