Nepal, Qatar sign 15-point pact

DOHA, JUL 02 -

The 15-point agreement signed between Nepal and Qatar on Sunday is expected to reduce the incidents of cheating migrant workers heading towards the Gulf country.

The agreement was signed during the joint-secretary level talks held in Qatari capital of Doha. This is the first agreement between the countries after the signing of the Labour Agreement some nine years ago. The next meeting is scheduled to be held in Kathmandu next year.

In a major achievement of the talks, Qatar has committed to help end the use of dual contract papers while hiring Nepali workers. The use of dual contract papers is the major technique adopted by the cheats to deceive gullible Nepali migrant workers.

“Prior to attesting demand letters, the Qatari Labour Ministry has agreed to confirm whether the information in the contract paper tallies with one verified by the Nepali embassy or Qatari Chamber of Commerce,” said Buddi Bahadur Khadka, head of the five-member visiting Nepali delegation.

Khadka, who also heads the Foreign Employment Division at the Ministry of the Labour and Employment, said if a company fakes demand letters, the Qatari government will blacklist it.

The use of dual contract papers has been as a serious anomaly in the foreign employment sector. As per the practice, employers and employment agencies sign work contract with workers on two different occasions. Stakeholders say a majority of the work contracts that manpower agencies submit at the Department of Foreign Employment while obtaining the prior approval do not match with the contract signed between the employer and workers.

According to the Nepali delegation, the Qatar government is positive on recruiting more workers, especially high-skilled, in recognition of honesty and hard work shown by the Nepali migrant community. Khadka said the Qatar government has proposed to hold a meeting between Qatari employers and Nepali manpower agencies to make the recruitment procedures swift.

As per the agreement, the Qatari Department of Investigation and Monitoring has consented to rescue workers put in work forcefully despite the expiry of the work contract and punish the employer companies concerned.

The Nepali mission in Qatar has been receiving around 50 complaints everyday about workers being barred from returning home despite the expiry of their work contract.

The agreement states companies not issuing identity cards to workers or not renewing their visa within three months will face punishment. Nepali migrant workers can also ask the Qatari Home Ministry to issue temporary identity cards.

The two countries, however, did not discussed sending housemaids through organised channels, citing lack of preparation and absence of consent from Qatari line ministries.

Qatar has also agreed to provide insurance coverage of all Nepali workers according to Qatari laws after the holy month of Ramadan. The Qatari Labour Ministry has agreed to deploy monitoring inspectors to ensure strict implementation of the insurance policy.

The agreement was signed by Khadka and Hussein Yusuf Al Bullaha, secretary of the Qatari Labour Ministry. “I found the Qatari side giving higher priority to the agenda of the labourers. Such a meeting will be helpful in giving timely remedy to problems faced by workers,” said Khadka.

Posted on: 2013-07-02 08:44