KATHMANDU, Aug 10: The International Relations and Labor Committee of the Legislature-Parliament on Wednesday directed the government to rescue all Nepali migrant workers who are serving jail terms in Saudi Arabia.
The committee has asked the government to manage 'blood money' to rescue workers, if needed. The officials of the Ministry of Labor and Employment, however, said that the existing laws do not allow the ministry to release the blood money.
Members of the committee urged the concerned authority to amend the laws to rescue Nepali workers from abroad.
Migrant workers have been facing severe consequences, including death penalty, for failing to manage the blood money, parliamentarians said. “It is the government's responsibility to support migrant workers who are in need.”
Hundreds Nepali nationals have been serving jail terms in various jails in Saudi Arabia, according to the lawmakers. In the meeting, parliamentarians also raised the issue of recession in Saudi Arabia. The recession in Saudi Arabia will hit the migrant workers and the government should develop its strategies to cope with the situation, they said.
Officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said that they have instructed the Embassy of Nepal in Riyadh and the Consulate General of Nepal in Jeddah to remain on highly alert and extend assistance to the Nepali nationals affected by the recently layoffs.
We have instructed our agencies to regularly update us about the situation as Saudi Arabia is one of the main destinations of Nepali migrant workers, said Bharat Raj Paudyal, joint-secretary at the MoFA.
Meanwhile, the committee has decided to form a sub-committee to study the expenditure details of the Foreign Employment Welfare Fund suspecting irregularities.
The five-member sub-committee includes Pushkar Acharya, Binod Shrestha, Ashok Kumar Mandal, Radha Timilsina and Durga Paudel. They have been assigned to oversee the use of the fund and possible irregularities. Every migrant worker contributes Rs 1000 to the fund. Similarly, interests of license fee and license renewal of manpower companies are also deposited to the fund.