Govt team off to Qatar

Kathmandu, July 7

A month after the diplomatic rift between Qatar and Saudi Arabia-led alliance of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt surfaced, the government has finally sent a team to Qatar to study the status of Nepali migrant workers in the Gulf country.

A team led by Joint Secretary of Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE) Tej Raj Pandaya today left for a week-long visit to Qatar and will seek feedback from Nepali migrant workers on the impact on them due to the diplomatic crisis, informed MoLE Secretary Laxman Prasad Mainali.

Consultations to be held with officials and Nepali workers to gauge impact of Gulf crisis

“Though we have not yet received any complaints about Nepali migrant workers in Qatar facing problems due to the diplomatic rift, rumours have been circulating about the hardships they are having to endure and their working mentality also being hit,” Mainali said.

According to him, the government team will consult with Nepali Embassy in Qatar, government authorities of Qatar and Nepali migrant workers there to know the ground reality regarding the impact of the Qatar crisis on Nepali workers.

Qatar is one of the major labour destinations for Nepali migrant workers, with more than 418,000 Nepalis employed there at present, as per MoLE.

Mainali also said that the visiting team will soon prepare a report on the status of Nepali migrant workers in Qatar and based on the report, MoLE will develop its future strategies regarding this issue.

He also informed the ambassador of Qatar to Nepal had recently met MoLE officials and assured that no Nepali worker is facing difficulties owing to the current Qatar crisis.

Nevertheless, the diplomatic rift has certainly hit the mentality of Nepali migrant workers who were planning to go to Qatar for work. This is evident in the declining number of Nepalis seeking work permit for Qatar in the recent days.

Mohan Adhikari, spokesperson for Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE), informed that the department has been issuing work permits to a daily average of 200 Nepalis for Qatar in recent days against an average of 700 to 800 work permits for the Gulf nation before the diplomatic rift.

Meanwhile, the government has also sent a team led by the Director General of DoFE Bishwo Raj Pandey to Malaysia on Thursday to study the problems and issues facing the Nepali migrant workers in Malaysia. The MoLE had received complaints from Malaysian authorities that Nepali workers are overstaying in the country illegally.

MoLE Secretary Mainali also informed that the government would soon send its study team to Saudi Arabia as Nepali migrant workers there have filed complaints regarding being underpaid, the contract agreement being violated, among others.