Kuwait deported 3,000 Egyptians last year, according to the Kuwaiti daily Al-Rai, out of a total of 30,000 people who had to leave the country.
Al-Quds reported that they had been deported for a range of reasons, including drug abuse, theft, expiration of residency and acting against the public interest.
Egyptians are the largest expat group in Kuwait, constituting 24 per cent of the workforce, though that number looks set to reduce as the government works on controlling the labour market and reducing the number of expats across all sectors, particularly within the government.
In 2018 Kuwait’s Civil Service Commission issued a decree to replace expats in government jobs with Kuwaitis over the next five years.
Since then, authorities have rolled out a series of measures aimed at reducing foreign workers in the country. In 2020 Kuwait’s parliament said it wanted to reduce the number of Egyptians in the country to ten per cent and introduced a draft law to that effect.
In December last year the Kuwaiti government imposed new conditions on Egyptian workers wishing to travel to the Gulf State including a $100 entry fee, an increased work permit documentation fee and a medical examination.
At the time, Deputy Prime Minister Talal Al-Khaled suspended a 2018 memorandum of understanding which was originally signed to facilitate recruitment between the two countries but did not officially inform Egypt it was being terminated.
Four months earlier Kuwait announced that it would lay off 250,000 Egyptian workers and suspend all contracts with non-nationals as 500,000 other Egyptians were already set to lose their jobs.
Egyptians have suffered racism in the Gulf country with a video of a Kuwaiti customer slapping an Egyptian cashier two years ago going viral.
One influencer called Egyptians “filthy servants.”
Even though they are the largest expatriate group in Kuwait, Egyptians lack employment rights and safety provision.
In November last year an Egyptian construction worker was killed in Kuwait allegedly after his colleagues dumped rubbish on him from the third floor after not realising he was below them.
A 2015 report on migrant rights found that industry corruption, including overextending project timelines and using cheap materials, put construction workers at risk.
Workers in Kuwait don’t always wear hard hats or receive protective clothing or equipment.