Kathmandu, June 9
Nepal will sign labour agreements with Mauritius and the United Arab Emirates in Geneva, Switzerland, this week on the sidelines of the 100th anniversary celebrations of International Labour Organisation, in which Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli is also participating.
PM Oli and his entourage, including Minister of Labour Employment and Social Security Gokarna Bista, reached Geneva today.
Nepal is signing a labour pact with Mauritius for the first time, whereas it already has in place such a pact with the UAE that was signed in 2007. The new accord with the UAE will replace the previous one.
Nepal and Mauritius will sign the agreement on June 11, while the agreement with the UAE will be signed on June 14. Minister Bista will sign the agreements with his Mauritian and Emirati counterparts, said the ministry’s joint secretary Ram Prasad Ghimire, who is a part of the delegation to Geneva.
The Cabinet has already endorsed the draft agreements.
As far as the agreement with the UAE is concerned, Nepali migrants will receive treatment in terms of pay and facilities equal to those provided to migrant workers from other countries.
The new pact has also put in place a provision whereby migrant Nepali workers can keep their passports with themselves so that they can terminate the job contract if they want to and return to Nepal or seek alternative employment.
Nepali migrants going to various labour destinations in the Gulf have long been complaining that they are forced to work for an employer for the entire contract period even when the employer does not provide promised pay and facilities or they do not like the job.
The agreement will also make them eligible to avail facilities such as security, welfare and other benefits.
“The agreements with both the countries also provision that employers should bear all the costs related to recruitment and travel, meaning Nepali migrants do not have to pay a penny before joining the job,” Ghimire told The Himalayn Times over phone from Geneva.
The agreement with the United Arab Emirates has also provisioned that Nepali migrants will have access to justice free of cost. Employers will have to bear costs related to occupational injuries and other diseases. The UAE government will have to ensure that Nepalis get the guaranteed wage.
Nepalis will also get end-of-service benefits, under which a Nepali working for less than five years for an employer will get 21-day salary at the end of service, and 30-day salary for those who work for more than five years. They will also get experience certificate.
As for the agreement with Mauritius, it’s more or less similar to what was reached with the UAE in terms of facilities and costs.
The agreement provisions that the Mauritius and Nepal governments will control illegal and irregular recruitment. Workers can return to Nepal if employers do not meet their obligation and the employer should bear all the related costs.
Another important feature is that Mauritian companies will directly recruit Nepalis from Nepali recruitment agencies, said Ghimire.
In terms of end-of-service benefits, Nepali migrants in Mauritius will get a month’s salary for every year they work. For example, if they work for five years, they get five-month salary at the end of service.
“The agreement with Mauritius is to diversify our labour destination. We expect Nepalis to go to Mauritius in the areas of hospitality and manufacturing,” said Ghimire.
A version of this article appears in print on June 10, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.