Kathmandu, April 25
After a two-day discussion, Nepal and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) today agreed to sign a revised labour agreement. The UAE receives thousands of Nepali migrant workers every year.
As per the new agreement, the UAE government has agreed to hire Nepali workers at zero cost. Moreover, employer companies will have to bear the recruitment service charges, two-way airfare, visa fee, health check-up fee and also the security screening and levy charges of Nepali migrants, among others.
The revised agreement also states that employer companies will have to pay the salaries of workers through the banking channel and the pay must be deposited by the 10th day of the month. The firms will also have to bear all expenses related to accommodation, health check-up and security, among others, during the contract period.
Ram Prasad Ghimire, joint secretary at the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security, informed that a new mechanism called ‘wages protection system’ has been developed, which will be monitored through a joint mechanism that will be established after the pact is signed. “If the employer firms do not pay the wages by the 10th day of the month, the joint mechanism will take action against the erring firms,” he added.
Moreover, two types of insurance system — medical and work — have been included in the revised agreement. Under the medical insurance, the worker will be given coverage for general medical expenses, while work insurance will cover the expenses incurred if a worker dies in the destination and the dead body has to be brought to Nepal.
Both the governments have also agreed to frame a new ‘standard employment contract’ that will clearly mention the entity that will be responsible for any kind of accident or unforeseen incident. Likewise, a worker will also be entitled to a 90-day leave if they fall sick. Of the 90 days leave, the employer firm will have to pay full salary of first 30 days to the concerned worker and half the salary for the next 15 days.
The remaining 45 days will be taken as unpaid leave. Moreover, the employer company will not be allowed to sack any worker within those 90 days.
The agreement has also mentioned that the UAE government will provide equal treatment to Nepali migrant workers with regard to health insurance, accident insurance and security, among others.
Likewise, the UAE government will also manage special arrangements for Nepali women migrant workers and an agreement has also been made to provide special privilege for housemaids soon.
The revised pact also mentions that if any migrant worker wants to return to Nepal, then the worker will not have to take any no-objection letter from the employer firm unlike in the past.
The final draft of the discussion was signed by Ghimire and Abdullah Alnuiai, foreign relation director under the UAE Ministry of Labour, Human Resources and Emiratisation.
Earlier, the government had signed a labour agreement with Malaysia and Japan.
Ghimire further said that the government will sign a new labour agreement with Qatar and Oman very soon.
According to the ministry, the final labour agreement with the UAE will be signed within May and it will replace the existing labour agreement, which was signed in 2007.
• UAE to hire Nepalis at zero cost
• Employer firms to pay salaries through banking channel by 10th day of the month
• Workers to get medical and work insurance coverage
• A new ‘standard employment contract’ to be developed
• Workers entitled to 90 days of sick leave in a year
• Equal treatment to Nepali migrant workers with regard to health insurance, accident insurance and security, among others
• Special arrangements for Nepali women migrant workers
• No need for no-objection letter to return home
A version of this article appears in print on April 26, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.