Sunday, April 5, 2015

Nepal, Qatar vow to clamp down on recruiters charging migrant workers

Qatar and Nepal vowed to clamp down on outsourcers that illegally took money from Qatar-bound Nepali migrant workers.
During a meeting today in Kathmandu with a visiting Qatari delegation led by labour and social welfare minister of Qatar Abdullah Saleh Mubarak Al-Khulaifi, Nepal asked to arrange for free of cost recruiting for Nepali migrant workers.
Nepali side led by state minister for labour Tek Bahadur Gurung asked Qatari counterpart to make it binding for employers to bear the commission paid to the recruiting agencies and agents in order to ensure cost-free hiring of Nepali migrant workers to Qatar.
Nepali migrant workers are forced to pay between Rs 70,000 and Rs 100,000 despite Qatar’s pledge to make recruitment cost-free for migrant workers. Though the government has allowed outsourcers to charge up to Rs 20,000 in fees, many recruiting agencies charge even for free visa and tickets for the second most lucrative destination for Nepali migrant workers.
Qatar has however, categorically said that its laws did not permit foreigners hired to work pay anything in the process.
Qatar – that needs more migrant workers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup projects – said that its companies bear all he expenses involved in hiring a migrant worker.
If any Qatari companies charge to hire migrant workers, they will be punished, Al-Khulaifi said, adding that all hiring and travel expenses for migrant workers are borne by Qatari companies.
But the migrant workers are forced to pay exorbitant fees as the government failed to monitor and punish the outsourcing agencies and agents. Gurung also promised to blacklist manpower companies that charge money.
Though no agreement was signed today, the second day of the delegation's four-day official visit to Nepal, both the countries discussed on providing 24-hour insurance to Nepali migrant workers, compulsory orientation before taking jobs and strengthening workplace safety and security.
“Qatar’s insurance policy covers only work-related and road accidents," Gurung said, adding that the government hass asked visitors to provide 24-hour insurance cover throughout the contract period. "Apart from insurance, Qatar has also pledged to address most of the issues related to migrant workers in its proposed labour law."
Qatar is working on new labour laws that is expected to address most of the challenges facing – migrant workers, including good living and working conditions, occupational safety and life insurance.
According to Foreign Employment Promotion Board, it has reimbursed – from Migrant Workers’ Welfare Fund – some 205 families of  migrant workers, who died in Qatar in the fiscal year 2013-14, some 110 in 2012-13 and some 130 in 2011-12. But most of the deceased migrant workers have not got proper compensation from the employer as the Qatari law does not cover insurance for workers dying of 'natural cause', cardiac arrest or suicide.
However, the failure of successive governments in creating employment in the country has forced the mass exodus of youth to the foreign jobs, lately.
Qatar – the second largest destination for Nepali migrant workers after Malaysia – has some 400,000 Nepalis working currently, according to the department. "In the last fiscal year 2014-15, some 128,874 Nepalis went to Qatar, up from some 90,935 in a fiscal year ago in 2013-14," according to the department.

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