Kathmandu, April 21
The government has invited officials from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman — Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations — to hold discussions regarding bilateral labour agreements. The government plans to revise the existing labour pact with the UAE and ink a new labour agreement with Oman. Both destinations receive thousands of Nepali migrant workers every year.
Earlier, the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security (MoLESS) had informed that they are going to review the labour pact with the UAE and ink a new agreement with Oman.
Nepali officials had held discussions with government officials of the UAE in Dubai on February 6 regarding a revision in the existing labour agreement.
A meeting was also held between concerned authorities of Nepal and Oman in Muscat on February 5 for a labour pact.
As per MoLESS, the UAE government had expressed its readiness to address most of the concerns raised by Nepali officials regarding the safety of workers and the facilities being provided to them.
Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Security Gokarna Bista, informed that the upcoming meetings will surely help create a positive environment to revise the labour pact with the UAE and sign a labour agreement with Oman.
“Our officials had presented our concerns to the respective governments of the UAE and Oman in February and we expect that in the next meeting these issues will be addressed.”
“I believe that the negotiations will lead to the revision of the labour pact with the UAE and the signing of a new agreement with Oman,” Minister Bista added.
The government has claimed that the new agreements with the UAE and Oman will be more progressive than the recently signed bilateral labour pact between Nepal and Malaysia.
It has said that migrant workers will not have to pay any extra charges including for health check-up when they go to the UAE or Oman for employment purposes.
Nepal and UAE had signed a labour agreement in 2007.
Likewise, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed with Oman in 2008. Till date, Nepali labourers have been flying to Oman on the basis of the MoU.
The ministry has said that the government has proposed to both the nations to receive Nepali labour at zero cost, to be transparent while hiring workers and guarantee a minimum wage. The government has also asked both nations to include provisions of overtime pay, working station accident insurance and security of labourers.
Minister Bista said that the government has urged both the nations to follow the International Labour Organisation’s norms and values when hiring Nepali migrant workers.
A version of this article appears in print on April 22, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.