The Coronavirus pandemic and travel restrictions have caused the expiration of thousands of expats’ residency permits in Kuwait, who were stuck in their countries and could not return to Kuwait.
The pandemic caused the residency of 692,000 expats’ in Kuwait to be canceled, after their residency had ended without their ability to return to work, according to a document issued by Public Authority for Manpower (PAM).
The Egyptian expatriate labor force is the largest percentage of expatriate workers in Kuwait, whose number 307,000, followed by 192,000 Indians.
Expats’ Residency In Kuwait
A Kuwaiti government source said the authorities granted expatriates abroad an opportunity to renew residency while abroad, but thousands did not do so during that period, and consequently, their residency was cancelled while abroad.
The source said that there are approximately 22,000 work permits canceled every month since the start of the pandemic crisis.
He pointed out that there are also thousands of voluntary departures, due to the termination of their services or because of the tightening procedures for renewing their residency, such as the decision not to renew the residency of those over 60 years old.
In the same context, a source from the Egyptian Ministry of Immigration confirmed that due to the Kuwaiti authorities’ recent decision to stop allowing non-citizens to enter the country as part of precautionary measures, there are more than 11,000 Egyptians stranded in the UAE, Turkey and Bahrain.
The source pointed out that most of those stranded abroad returned to Egypt again until the reopening of the Kuwait airport, but there are about 4,200 people still stranded in the UAE and Turkey, waiting to be allowed to return to Kuwait.
The departure of thousands
For his part, Vice Chairman of the Kuwaiti Economic Society, Ahmed Al-Mulla, said that the departure of hundreds of thousands of expatriates and the repercussions of the Coronavirus pandemic have negatively affected various economic sectors, especially the real estate sector, which is witnessing an unprecedented recession.
Meanwhile, professor of economics at Kuwait University Muhammad Al-Hajri said, “there are fears of a mass exodus of expatriates during the coming period due to random and inconsistent government decisions, such as the decision to impose a curfew that will cause thousands of workers to be laid off due to the suspension of businesses”.
Al-Hajri pointed out that there are many business owners who have laid off their employees or granted them leave until the imposed curfew ends.