Kuwait City: Compared to the previous year, expat remittance in Kuwait increased by 14 per cent in 2020, bringing the total to around 5.3 billion Kuwaiti dinars, local media reported.
It was during the first quarter of 2020 that expats sent back home the bulk of the amount, 1.19 billion Kuwaiti dinars. Then, once the pandemic took hold, remittances dropped significantly with expats sending around 81.2 million Kuwaiti dinars back to their home countries.
It picked up again in the third quarter as the total reached 458.8 million Kuwaiti dinars, as well as in the fourth quarter, when expats sent a total of 314.6 million Kuwaiti dinars.
Despite mass layoffs and huge salary cuts, expats still sent back home more money than they did in 2019. One of the reasons is that spending was reduced as several commercial activities from restaurants and cafes to shops and cinemas were closed for a long period of time.
In addition, many expats were, and still are, unable to travel due to the travel ban barring non-Kuwaitis from returning to Kuwait. Drop in travel has also probably reduced spending, thus allowing for remittance to increase.
Out of the 4.2 million people living in Kuwait, around three million are non-Kuwaitis. Of those, many are migrant workers who have travelled to Kuwait to earn a living to provide for their families back home.
As the largest expat community in Kuwait at around 1.3 million, Indians sent 1.9 billion Kuwaiti dinars in 2019, according to the Washington Post.