HK snubs Nepal’s call to reopen work destination

KATHMANDU: The government is exploring Hong Kong as a new destination for Nepali women migrant workers. A group of government officers visited Hong Kong between September 18 and 25 for the purpose, but they could not get an encouraging response.

“Hong Kong is neither

negative nor positive,” said Foreign Employment Promotion Board (FEPB) undersecretary Mukunda Adhikari, who

was a member of the

group. “We discussed matters cordially,” he said.

“They listed many problems created by Nepalis and

showed reluctance in reopening Hong Kong for Nepalis.” Hong Kong stopped hiring Nepali workers in 2005.

According to Adhikari, Hong Kong showed serious concern over three major issues — involvement in crime, illegal status and growing claims of refugee status — and has sought clarification from the Nepal government. Hong Kong is a home to around 20,000 Nepalis, including 18,000 Hong Kong ID (permanent resident permission) holders. Around 720 Nepali women are working there as housemaids.

“If we want Hong Kong to reopen, we will have to work hard,” said Adhikari adding that without strong labour diplomacy it is not possible. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Nepali diplomatic mission in destinations must take initiatives from now on, he said. Hong Kong usually revises its labour policy twice a year — in January and July.

FEPB initiated the move

after a study showed that

Hong Kong can hire at least 10,000 Nepali housemaids if strong action is taken. “It all depends on our labour diplomacy,” said Adhikari.

Hong Kong is a safe destination for women migrant workers with an average monthly income of Rs 35,000. Around 5,00,000 foreigners are working in Hong Kong. They are mostly from the Philippines, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

Nepali women’s overseas employment is largely based in Israel but that country also

has stopped hiring nepali workers since April because of fraud by Nepali outsourcing agencies. Around 12,000 Nepalis are believed to working in Israel and 10,000 are women working in the care-giver sector. The average income of Nepali women migrant workers there is $650.

Kuwait to deport 500 Nepalis

KATHMANDU: Kuwait is preparing to deport 17,000 illegal migrant workers including 500 Nepalis by November, An-Nahar daily newspaper reported on Saturday citing Kuwaity Ministry of Interior sources.

The ministry arrested these illegal migrant workers from 22 countries during raids last month. It plans to send back them to their respective native countries at the government’s expense.

The ministry has applied to the Central Tenders Committee (CTC) to purchase air tickets, the report said.

According to the Ministry, the list of deportees included 4,000 Bangladeshis, 3,500 Indians, 1,000 Filipinos, 1,000 Indonesians, 1,000 Sri Lankans, 1,200 Egyptians, 1,050 Pakistanis, 500 Iranis, 500 Chinese, 500 Ethiopians and 500 Nepalis. Kuwait deported 16,000 illegal migrant workers in 2006. — HNS