MANGALURU: Jobs of more than 50,000 Kannadigas in Kuwait are in limbo as the Gulf country has initiated the process of bringing in a legislation to restrict the number of foreign workers. State’s coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Uttara Kannada will suffer the most, while the implications will also be felt in other parts of the state. The economy of the coastal region will be affected as there will be a drastic reduction in remittances. Kuwait was one of the most preferred destinations for people looking for greener pastures. An unskilled labourer there gets a minimum monthly salary of Rs 35,000.
Though it may take a year or two for the new rule to be implemented, many feel that they may not have to wait till then as the Kuwait’s economy is in bad shape due to crash in oil prices and Covid-19 pandemic. “Already many have lost their jobs and have returned to India. Now, layoffs will become more common,” said SM Farooq, who has worked in Kuwait from past 15 years.
Kannadigas are employed in all sectors in Kuwait and the new rule has triggered panic among all these people. Many who have set up business are worried of huge losses. Those who started working in Kuwait recently are the most worried as they have borrowed money for visa and other expenses have not repaid it fully.
Mabiya Adam, an office-bearer Kuwait Kerala Muslim Association’s Karnataka branch said many have shifted their families to Kuwait and have put their children in schools there. Kuwait allows people earning more than 450 dinars a month to keep their families with them. Farooq said while about 50,000 Kannadigas are employed in Kuwait, there are around 20,000 people staying there as dependents.