Nepalis in Saudi Arabia being barred from returning home

KATHMANDU: Kalicharan Sah of Saptari had left for Saudi Arabia five years ago on a two-year labour permit. But, he is yet to return home despite several attempts.

Sah could not return because he did not receive the mandatory permit from his employer company. The law of Saudi Arabia requires a worker to receive an exit visa from his/her employer to return home, even after the end of the contract.

"Three years have passed since my company started saying that 'you will be sent home soon', but I am yet to receive the permit," Sah told the Rastriya Samachar Samiti over phone from Saudi Arabia.

He has his elderly mother, wife, three sons and a daughter, waiting for him.

Sah had landed in Saudia Arabia after paying Rs 90,000 to the Worldwide Employment Consultancy in Tripureshwor, Kathmandu.

Sah also claimed that his manpower agency and the Nepali Embassy in Saudi Arabia did not respond to his plea for help.

Sah is not the only one facing this problem.

Tulasi Thapa, Arjun Shrestha and Chhabi Lal Gautam of Dang; Shrawan Limbu and Naresh Kumar Chaudhary of Sunsari; and Abjal Musal Man of Kapilvastu too have faced the same problem. They have completed a year waiting to return home.

On top of that, during the three-year stay so far, they have also been able to find work for only 17 months, according to Naresh Chaudhary, who also shared his story to the RSS over phone.

The company they were working for was blacklisted and hence its permit was not sufficient to help them return home.

"We could neither make some income nor return home. We are living a jailed life," Chaudhary said.

Chaudhary and his friends had gone to Saudi Arabia through the Swastik Overseas in Baneshwor, Kathmandu.

President of the Migrant Nepali Coordinator Committee Kul Prasad Karki said that many Nepali migrant workers were facing problems due to the kafala system of Saudi Arabia.

A labour agreement between the two governments could help resolve the problem, said Karki, who also returned home after working for a decade in Saudi Arabia.