Nepal and Qatar governments have vowed to crack down on manpower agencies that illegally charge money from the Qatar-bound Nepali migrant workers.
“Nepalis need not pay a single rupee to go to work in Qatar,” said Tek Bahadur Gurung, Nepal’s state minister for labor. “Qatari companies that hire migrant workers pay for everything – from their visa fee to air-ticket.”
Gurung held a meeting with Qatar’s labor minister Abdullah Bin Salih Al-Khulaifi in Kathmandu on Sunday to discuss ways to ease difficulties facing Nepali workers on the way to or while working in Qatar.
At a press conference after meeting his Nepali counterpart, Qatar’s labor minister Al-Khulaifi said: “Our law requires Qatari companies to pay for everything to hire migrant workers and anyone who does not abide by this law will be punished.”
Talking to Nepali Times after the press conference, Gurung said manpower agencies are illegally charging anything between Rs 70,000-Rs 100,000 from Nepali migrant workers bound for Qatar.
“It’s illegal,” he said. “We’ll blacklist those manpower companies that charge money from the Qatar-bound Nepali workers.”
Hundreds of thousands of Nepali migrant workers have reached Qatar after this Arab nation won the bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The latest report by the Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE) says more than 400,000 Nepalis are now working in Qatar.
Amidst media reports that migrant workers, including Nepalis, are ‘forced to work’ in ‘inhuman condition’ to build physical infrastructures for the 2022 World Cup, Qatar’s labor minister Al-Khulaifi has come to Nepal for a four-day visit. He is scheduled to meet President Ram Baran Yadav and Prime Minister Sushil Koirala on Monday.
In his meetings with Nepal’s labor minister and authorities, Al-Khulaifi promised that Qatar will ensure ‘livable’ accommodation, occupational safety and life insurance for Nepali migrant workers.
“We need more migrant workers to build the 2022 World Cup infrastructures,” said Al-Khulaifi at the press conference. “But, we do not want to compromise on their health and safety.”