Gulf countries rush to take domestic workers from Nepal

20 December, Kathmandu. Qatar made the main agenda of the discussion at a joint meeting of high-level labor officials last Friday “open to sending domestic workers from Nepal.”

After Qatar insisted on creating an environment conducive to domestic labor, the Nepalese government agreed to set up a task force to conduct the study.

At present, not only Qatar, but also UAE, Saudi Arabia and most of the Gulf countries and Malaysia are eager to take domestic workers from Nepal. However, due to the directives given to the government by the Parliamentary Committee on Industry and Commerce and Labor and Consumer Affairs, domestic workers are not able to go abroad easily.

In the last few years, the labor destination countries have put pressure on Nepal in many ways to relax the conditions of the parliamentary committee. In a meeting held at Chandragiri in Kathmandu on Friday, Qatar had also shown the temptation to open up opportunities for Nepalis in other areas by sending domestic workers.
According to an official who attended the meeting, the Qatari labor officials did not discuss the agenda enthusiastically except for providing opportunities for domestic and agricultural workers.

According to an official who attended the meeting, the Qatari labor officials did not discuss the agenda enthusiastically except for providing opportunities for domestic and agricultural workers. Officials at the Ministry of Labor understand that Qatar has agreed to a 2005 labor agreement review to create an environment conducive to the repatriation of domestic workers from Nepal.

Three years ago, the Qatari government agreed to discuss a labor agreement review to create an environment conducive to opening a visa center. After the opening of the center, he did not want to sit in talks.

“Qatar has shown great interest in removing the conditions for the supply of domestic workers,” said a Labor ministry official.

One of the reasons for the rise in labor officials is Qatar’s reluctance to take domestic workers. The Qatari team had raised the same agenda not only in the high-level meeting but also in the discussions held with Labor, Employment and Social Security Minister Krishna Kumar Shrestha and the parliamentary committee.

According to Binda Pandey, a member of the committee, the Qatari team had requested not to cut off the supply of labor due to suspicion, claiming that the labor law was formulated to address the seven-point directive given by the parliamentary committee on domestic workers.

“However, we have made it clear that domestic workers can be sent only if the seven-point directive is followed,” Pandey said.

She said that it was essential to ensure an environment in which the committee would not back down from its stand in the current situation and guarantee the safety of domestic workers.

After the lawmakers reiterated their position, the Qatari team was invited to come and understand the situation of domestic workers in their country.

Not only Qatar, but also the Gulf states have been lobbying for the supply of domestic workers at the administrative and political levels. In January 2077, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) urged the then Labor Minister Gauri Shankar Chaudhary to open the way for the supply of domestic labor.

The ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Saeed Hamdan al-Naqvi, had demanded the removal of the sanctions as other countries had not imposed such sanctions, Minister Chaudhry said at a public event. Saudi Arabia has repeatedly raised the same agenda in discussions with labor officials.

Rights activists in favor of opening

The demand for lifting the ban on domestic workers has been made not only by labor destination countries, but also by unions, human rights activists and labor leaders who have been speaking on behalf of domestic workers. They have been saying that the current policy should be reconsidered, adding that the problem has been exacerbated by the fact that many women workers are leaving the country through India in the name of insecurity.

Instead of depriving the workers of their right to work, they demand to make necessary arrangements and send them easily through legal route.

Foreign employment expert Dr. Ganesh Gurung says that the ban imposed by the government is over. He is of the opinion that the ban has not solved the problem and now we have to look for alternatives.

He says that after the ban, Nepali students have been taken to India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Bangladesh and this has increased the cost of going abroad.

‘Fearing legal action, the broker also had to endure the abuse of our students on the way,’ said Dr. Gurung says, “Therefore, it seems necessary to create an environment that allows people to go through legal channels.”

He suggests sending them abroad with language, skills and orientation training. If possible, self-defense courses like martial arts should also be included in the orientation training, he said.

“Disciples should only be sent abroad, prepared to fight for the consequences,” he said.

As the Korana epidemic subsides, gangs are active in smuggling Nepali women abroad to become domestic workers. The Immigration Department has repeatedly deported some women who were going to UAE and other countries on visit visas for domestic work.

Nepali women domestic workers are attracted in Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Lebanon and other countries. Work is being done to bring women workers to those countries not only through illegal routes of India but also by setting up at Tribhuvan Airport. The number of people going to countries like Iraq, Syria, Kurdistan is also large.

Foreign brokers charge domestic workers between Rs 200,000 and Rs 400,000

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