10 Nepali migrants stranded in Saudi Arabia

SAUDI ARABIA: As many as 10 Nepali migrants have been left in the lurch in Saudi Arabia after they have been found staying illegally.

Landed in Saudi Arabia 22 months ago through the Kathmandu-based Al Naseer Overseas Pvt Ltd, the migrants have been rendered illegal ever since as they lack necessary documents like identity cards and residency permit cards.

As a result, they were arrested time and again earlier and now are living in the quarters of their company in Jeddah city of Saudi Arabia.

The victims said that they were forced to work illegally for other companies for the first one year of their arrival here.

They lamented that even the Nepali Embassy in Saudi Arabia had turned deaf ears to their problem as well despite their repeated approach for help.

The workers added that they had been told that they should pay a fine of around Rs 600,000 each (around 20,000 Saudi Riyals) to return home.

“We are also deprived of treatment in case someone falls sick for want of our identity cards. It has been 10 months since we lost job. Now we are surviving on borrowed money,” said one of the victims, Soman Raut from Sarlahi district.

He said that they paid Rs 135,000 each to the recruitment agency to fly to Saudi Arabia and that they are yet to repay all the money they borrowed before they left for the country.

Similar is the story of another victim Khadga BK from Banke.

“We are left high and dry. We do not know how to return home,” he said, adding that police arrested him eight times earlier and that he was asked to pay around Rs 600,000 if he wanted to return home.

“How to manage such huge amount of money all by myself?” he wondered.

Another victim Krishna Prasad Ghimire of Banke said that their repeated calls to the Nepali Consulate in Jeddah for rescue had not been heard so far.

“It has been one year since we started approaching the Nepali Embassy in Saudi Arabia. What we got each time from the officials is only assurances,” he added.