Nepal, Kuwait to discuss labor deal

Published On: October 13, 2018 06:30 AM NPT

KATHMANDU, Oct 13: Nepal and Kuwait have expedited preparations to reach a formal labor agreement to benefit Nepali workers going there for employment.

A highly-placed diplomatic source said that a senior Kuwaiti minister is likely to visit Kathmandu “soon” to hold further discussions about the agreement. Kuwait had expressed its interest to reach a formal labor agreement after Nepal unilaterally banned sending Nepali workers to this Gulf nation.

Officials at the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security said a few rounds of talks have already been held to ensure cost-free employment to Nepali nationals wishing to go there for employment. “We want to make sure that Nepali nationals do not have to bear any cost to go to Kuwait for jobs. Negotiations are currently underway between the two countries through the diplomatic channel,” said an official.

Although Kuwait is considered one of the best destinations for Nepali female workers, Nepal government has banned sending them to Kuwait amid concern over their safety and sexual violence. Around 30,000 Nepali house maids are currently working in Kuwait.

The house maids who are currently working in Kuwait have not been able to return home after the government placed the ban on sending female workers. There are demands within Nepal to reconsider the decision as a large number of female workers continue making their way to Kuwait via third countries.

A parliamentary committee had earlier asked the government to lift the ban on female workers. Labor Minister Gokarna Bista has been publicly maintaining that the ban would be lifted only after full security of Nepali female workers is guaranteed there.

The negotiation with Kuwait to reach a formal labor agreement comes amid preparation of Nepal to sign a similar labor agreement with Malaysia. Once the proposed agreement comes into place, Nepali workers wishing to go to Malaysia in principle do not have to spend any extra money other than the amount paid for passport.

Officials said the labor ministry is preparing to sign similar labor agreement with Qatar. Preparations are underway to start negotiation with the Gulf nation to ink a formal deal to this effect.

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