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3300 KM From The Country, A Magnet For Indian Laborers, Know Why Workers Prefer Kuwait

Kuwait's economy heavily relies on foreign workers, with more foreigners than citizens living there. Indians make up the largest group, mostly working as laborers. Do you know why Indians continue to choose Kuwait?

Edited By : simran rajpal | Updated: Jun 13, 2024 17:36 IST
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A deadly fire erupted in a building in Mangaf, Kuwait, claiming dozens of lives, including over 40 Indians among the victims. The building, rented by the NBTC Group, housed 196 workers who were asleep when the fire broke out around 4 am on Wednesday. Kuwait’s Home Minister, Sheikh Fahad Al Yusuf Al Sabah, has ordered the arrest of the building owner. Officials reported that 49 foreign workers lost their lives in this tragic incident.

Despite the challenges of living conditions where laborers are crowded into rooms by contractors and owners seeking to maximize their earnings, many Indians are drawn to Kuwait, a country located approximately 3300 km away from India, due to the higher income opportunities available there.

Why many Indians are there?

According to the Indian Embassy in Kuwait, Indians have been crucial to Kuwait’s workforce for many years. Approximately 1 million Indians reside in Kuwait, making up 21% of the country’s total population. Moreover, Indians constitute 30% of Kuwait’s overall workforce.

Data from Kuwait’s Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI) indicates that as of December 2023, Kuwait’s population was 4.859 million, with over 3.3 million being foreign citizens. The statistics suggest there are about 3 million laborers or workers in Kuwait, with 75% of the foreign population engaged in labor-related roles.

According to the data, Kuwait employs 509,000 people in the government sector and 1.638 million in the private sector. Indians constitute 4.5% of the government sector workforce and 30% of the private sector workforce.

The Indian population in Kuwait has surpassed 1 million, with over 885,000 Indians working as laborers. Following Indians, Egyptians constitute the largest group of workers in Kuwait, numbering 477,000. Additionally, Indian women make up more than 28% of domestic helpers in Kuwait.

According to the Indian Embassy, there are over a thousand Indian doctors, 500 dentists, and more than 24,000 nurses working in Kuwait.

Why do Indian’s love Kuwait

There are several reasons for this. Firstly, working in Kuwait is relatively straightforward; it doesn’t require advanced skills, yet the earnings are high. Workers are legally limited to 48 hours of work per week, with overtime required to be compensated if exceeded, up to a maximum of two hours.

Although Qatar does not have a minimum wage policy, there are international guidelines from the International Labour Organization (ILO) that set minimum wage standards for Indian workers abroad. In 2016, minimum wages were established for 64 job categories in Gulf countries, ensuring Indian workers receive salaries ranging from $300 to $1050.

According to a report from research firm Workyard, Kuwait is among the most affordable places globally. The cost of living, food, and beverages is inexpensive.

For housing, a one-bedroom apartment rents for 250 to 300 dinars monthly, while a two-bedroom apartment ranges from 300 to 400 dinars. Indians often share the rent by living together, such as two families sharing a two-bedroom flat.

Bachelors can find rooms for rent at 75 to 100 dinars per month. Typically, food costs between 50 to 75 dinars per person monthly in Kuwait.

Moreover, individuals earning over 600 dinars per month can afford to buy a car. Second-hand cars in good condition are available for 2500 to 3000 dinars.

Here are the rights of Indians working in Kuwait:

  1. You will receive your salary on time, even if you leave your job voluntarily or are terminated.
  2. You are entitled to 30 days of annual leave. If unused, you will receive additional payment for these days.
  3. In case of emergency hospitalization, you receive financial assistance of Rs. 75,000 under the Overseas Indian Insurance Scheme.
  4. You can take up to 15 days of sick leave without any deductions. Beyond 15 days, you receive three-fourths of your salary.
  5. You are entitled to one day off per week and if you work on your day off, you will be paid 50% more than your regular wage. You also get a one-hour break daily.
  6. Working hours are limited to 6 hours per day and 48 hours per week. Overtime work requires the company or contractor to pay 25% more than the basic wage.
  7. Indian women under 30 years old cannot work as domestic helpers in Kuwait, as per Indian government regulations. Women in other jobs are not allowed to work between 10 pm and 7 am.
  8. Indian workers abroad receive insurance coverage. In case of accidental death or disability, insurance up to Rs. 10 lakh is provided. Legal expenses up to Rs. 30,000 are also covered by the government in case of disputes.

Also Read: London ‘Flight To Nowhere’: Passengers Circle For 9 Hours, Return To Same Airport Due To Technical Issue

First published on: Jun 13, 2024 05:36 PM IST

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