Nepali labourers in trouble in Arab nations

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, January 30:

Over half a million Nepali workers in Arab countries have been facing problems related to their jobs. International Coordination Council–Non Resident Mission, in its recent meeting held in Doha, raised many labour issues, specially in Arab countries related to illegal work, lack of working permission for employees despite earlier assurances, illegal recruitment by manpower agencies for sending workers to Arab states and lack of incentives related to work. Member of ICC-NRB Germany and honorary consul of Nepal to Germany, Ram Thapa told The Himalayan Times that Nepalis are facing difficulties in different ways. Therefore, ICC is taking initiatives to help them by resolving their problems.

In a second regional labour conference held in Doha recently, issues related to labourers were discussed at length, particularly about over 80,000 labourers working in Doha, informed Thapa. Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), NRN-ICC, National Coordination Council of Doha are taking up labour issues seriously.

The focus of the regional conference was to take stock of the situation for over half a million Nepali workers staying in Arab states, he said.

Despite manpower agencies having sent Nepali workers to Arab states, they are not given ‘promised jobs’. Some workers are found to have been sent by faking documents, disclosed Ram Thapa who actively participated in the labour conference in Doha.

He said that the problem of Nepali workers in Arab countries and Europe is quite different as in Arab nations the situation of Nepali workers is pathetic, as most of them lack skills. Of the total labourers, 99.9 per cent Nepalis sent to Arab countries are ‘unskilled’ and they are low-paid, according to Thapa. The new labour agreement between Doha and Nepal is in the offing, which promises to make new provisions such as insurance, export of manpower, reasonable incentives for labour working in overseas. The role of manpower agents is very crucial but some agencies are not working for the welfare of labourers, he said. NRN-ICC is also preparing a ‘labour code’ for making the labour market more effective, he said.

Neither the government nor the private sector is found working prepare skilled labour, he complained and stressed on the need for fresh vocational training courses for labourers to render them stronger, he commented. If the manpower is skilled, they will get more money, he said. Gradually, the demand for Nepali workers might reduce as most manpower importing countries are looking for better and qualified employees, he said. Moreover, labourers working in different countries of the world should avoid trade union politics, as it will ultimately backfire on employees’ career, he suggested.