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100,000 expats to permanently leave Kuwait by the end of 2020

Egyptian citizens queue at Kuwait International Airport before boarding a repatriation flight to Cairo, in Kuwait City on 5 May 2020. [YASSER AL-ZAYYAT/AFP via Getty Images]
Passengers queue at Kuwait International Airport in Kuwait City on 5 May 2020 [YASSER AL-ZAYYAT/AFP via Getty Images]

As many as 100,000 expatriate workers will permanently leave Kuwait by the end of this year, Al-Qabas newspaper reported yesterday.

The paper quoted security sources as saying that campaigns have intensified over the past few months to tackle the issue of “residency trade” which led to 450 companies being referred for investigation and 300 cases being filed.

According to the sources, during the investigations around 100,000 workers were found to have been registered in fake companies which they do not work for. As a result, they have been “forced to pay large amounts of money for residency permits”.

Late last month, it was revealed that around 40,000 expatriates currently stranded outside of the Gulf state due to coronavirus measures are unable to renew their residency permits and won’t be allowed to return without a valid visa.

READ: Thousands of Egyptians lost their jobs after Kuwait suspended flights

In May, it was reported that Kuwaiti MPs have proposed a law to address the country’s long-standing demographic imbalance between foreign expats and Kuwaiti nationals, which if approved could lead to hundreds of thousands of foreigners being laid off and replaced with locals.

According to one official, 92,000 expats left Kuwait between April to June, including illegal migrants. The government announced an amnesty in April to offer illegal migrants exemption from punishment in return for free flights home. Foreigners account for nearly 3.4 million of Kuwait’s 4.8 million population.

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