KATHMANDU: Nepal has temporarily stopped issuing work permits to women seeking to go abroad as domestic helpers in the Gulf countries.
The government has decided not to issue housemaid work permits and conveyed it to labour receiving countries in the Gulf region requesting them not to employ Nepali women in the domestic sector, said Labour and Employment Ministry officials.
“We have temporarily stopped issuing work permits to women seeking to work as housemaids in the Gulf countries and written to the Nepali missions asking them to inform about the ban to the concerned governments,” said State Minister for Labour Tek Bahadur Gurung.
State Minister Gurung said the decision was guided by good intention as the ban is temporary and will be lifted once it devises a mechanism to ensure safety and security of Nepali migrant workers.
This move came following reports of widespread abuses suffered by Nepali housemaids in different Gulf countries, most of whom reached Arab countries through illegal channels.
“This decision is also aimed at preventing Nepali housemaids from entering the Gulf countries through illegal channels as many Nepali women go via India,” he said.
“We have requested labour receiving countries to cooperate with us until the government comes up with a permanent mechanism for long-term solution,” said Labour and Employment Ministry’s spokesman Buddhi Bahadur Khadka.
The government has also initiated diplomatic process to sign labour agreement for domestic workers with different countries including Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Nepal has already sent a draft of the labour agreement to different countries but has so far received no response from any of them.
More than 32,00,000 Nepali migrant workers are believed to be working in different countries including over 450,000 in Malaysia alone. Some 250,000 Nepali women work as domestic helpers in different Gulf countries.
Malaysia’s Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot has recently expressed his country’s desire to take Nepali ‘house managers’ (housemaids) during his two-day visit to Nepal on Aug 20-21.
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