Saudi Arabia has initiated the process to hire one million migrants to meet the growing demand for workers in the kingdom.
The workers will be hired through various labour sending countries including Nepal over the next two years. Saudi Arabia is the second largest work destination for Nepali workers at the moment. More than 500,000 Nepalis are believed to be working in the oil-rich nation.
Saudi Arabia’s Labour Ministry said in a notice that the government has permitted 10 local agencies to hire the workers. It has also issued visas in bulk for the purpose.
Nepal’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ananda Prasad Sharma said the embassy was unaware of the total demand for workers from Nepal.
He expected the quota to increase for Nepalis as there has been a 30 percent rise in demand this year.
“But the Saudi government has not yet unveiled the country-wise quotas. We believe that the quota for Nepali workers would increase,” said Sharma. The ministry has also asked the agencies not to misuse the visas. The agencies found to be “smuggling” the visas could face up to 15 years in jail and Rs27.9 million in fine. Officials at the Nepali embassy said the new rule would discourage agencies from outsourcing visas to unauthorised agents and agencies. The move is also expected to help recruit workers from the formal channel.
“I think it’s a good move as there has been massive misuse and misappropriation of the visas,” said an embassy official.
Source: The Kathmandu Post