Ban sending Nepalis to Gulf as domestic workers: House panel

KATHMANDU: The Parliament's International Relations and Labour Committee has directed the Council of Ministers to completely ban sending Nepali workers to the Gulf countries until they formulate substantive laws relating to domestic help and make a bilateral labour agreement with Nepal.

A meeting of the Committee on Sunday instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Labour and Employment to immediately take an initiative at a higher level to rescue and repatriate the Nepali migrant workers who are facing difficulties in the Gulf countries.

The Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Home Affairs have been told to identify those Nepalis who live abroad and are involved in human smuggling from Nepal, bring them back to Nepal and bring them to book. Also, the government has been instructed to start initiations at the diplomatic level to even punish the foreign nationals who are involved in smuggling of Nepali nationals.

The meeting demanded action against the government employees, deputed at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) and the Department of Immigration, who have the hands behind sending Nepali women to the Gulf countries illegally.

The House panel had pointed out that immigration employees were involved in illegally sending Nepali women to the Gulf countries last week.

Moreover, the government has been instructed to regularly supervise problems of foreign employment and address them by forming a robust joint mechanism.

Foreign Minister Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat, Minister for Labour and Employment Suryaman Gurung, Minister of State for Home Indra Bahadur Baniya and the secretaries at the respective ministries were present in the meeting.

In the meeting, lawmakers claimed that immigration employees were involved in illegally sending Nepali women to the Gulf countries as domestic help and insisted that action should be taken against them.

With an aim to find the status of Nepali migrant workers, a team headed by the Committee's President Prabhu Saha visited four Gulf countries -- Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The team returned home on March 28.

It concluded that 60 per cent of Nepali women, who illegally left the country to serve as domestic workers in the Gulf countries, were helped by the immigration employees to pass the immigration channel at the TIA.