Nepal, Bahrain ink labour pact

Kathmandu, April 29:

Ramesh Lekhak, minister for Labour and Transport Management and his Bahrain’s counterpart Dr Majeed Bin Muhsin Al Alawi — who arrived in Kathmandu on Sunday on a three-day long official visit leading a nine-member delegation — signed bilateral labour pact on behalf of their respective countries today.

The agreement will now pave way for secured employment opportunities and provide legal recognition to Nepali migrant workers in Bahrain.

After the signing of the accord, a joint committee will now be set up and branch offices headed by a high government officials will be opened in both the countries, said Keshar Bahadur Baniya, director general at the Department of Labour and Employment Promotion (DoLEP).

The accord will set a legal framework for Nepali migrant workers as it has clearly spelt out requirements needed for the job seekers and recruiting agencies in the source country.

The employers in Bahrain will then be bound to comply with domestic labour laws and provide facilities as per the laws.

The accord seeks to protect workers’ rights and prevent improper practices by private labour supply agencies which tend to exploit the workers by demanding exaggerated fees, providing false information about their working conditions in host country as well as misleading

the employers in Bahrain regarding the workers’ qualifications, experiences and documents.

“The government is also thinking of providing training to the job-aspirants,” the minister said after the signing ceremony. “However, if thought necessary, the job-seekers can also be given training in Bahrain.”

Though the minimum salary is not fixed in Bahrain, the salary will be fixed in mutual understanding between employer and the employee but it will not be less than $150,” Baniya, said adding that the total cost for a job-seeker might come to Rs 70,000.

According to DoLEP, in the last nine months, some 1,67,785 Nepalis left Nepal for foreign employment. Qatar is the most preferred destination, while Malaysia saw a decline in Nepali migrants during the period. However, the UAE received 32,453 Nepalis, a 104 per cent rise, during the first nine months.

According to the department, due to the CA elections, the outflux decreased in the month of Chaitra. During the first nine months of the current fiscal year, Bahrain received 2,947 Nepalis. “Informally, around 30,000 Nepalis are currently working in Bahrain. Most of them are unskilled labourers and employed in construction sector,” Baniya added.

The government has already entered into similar agreement with South Korea. After the pact with Bahrain, Nepal is also looking forward to sign agreement with Japan.

Labour secretary Shyam Prasad Mainali is leading the Nepali delegation and is scheduled to meet his Japanese counterpart and senior office bearers of the Japan Industrial and Technical Cooperation Organisation (JITCO) during his stay in Japan.