General

Nepal and Oman mull labour pact

- CHANDAN KUMAR MANDAL, Kathmandu

May 29, 2018-

The government is gearing up to finalise the labour agreement with Oman, another Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) nation, which receives thousands of Nepali migrant workers annually.

After receiving the labour agreement draft from Oman, the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security has intensified its work to give the document the final shape, according to ministry spokesperson Krishna Gyawali.

 “The ministry has begun its initial homework on reviewing the draft of the agreement. The ministry will be holding comprehensive discussions to make sure rights of Nepali workers are protected in the best way possible,” said Gyawali.

Once the labour ministry finishes the review of the draft and includes its suggestions, it will be forwarded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) for approval.

The labour agreement will protect and promote equal and fair treatment of Nepali workers in terms of wage, working condition, overtime, safety and security, judicial authority and others rights of the workers from other countries, according to Gyawali.

The proposed agreement aims to ensure the migrant worker is not charged any fee during the hiring process as visa, travel expenses, service charge of the recruiting agencies will be borne by the employer.

“Both countries will be responsible for making sure that workers are not exploited by recruiting agencies and other agents while seeking job in Oman,” said the ministry official.

Oman is one of the seven countries where the government policy of ‘Free Visa, Free Ticket’, which requires employer or recruiting agencies paying for their visa and ticket, is applicable since July 2015. The draft has proposed pre-departure and post-arrival orientation for workers, minimum age of 18 for migrant worker, skills and training as per the requirement of the employer, protection of occupation health and safety of worker among other significant areas ensuring workers maximum rights.

Likewise, the minimum salary, working hours, number of working days, medical facilities, accommodation facilities, weekly and annual leave days should be fixed in the labour contract between the employer and the worker.  Also, the worker should be prior notified for termination of the working contract.

“In case of emergency condition, we have proposed 20 days of paid leave for workers,” said the official, adding the host country should assist in rescue and repatriation of the workers when required such support. 

Through the proposed labour agreement, the government is also making sure that the passports of workers stay with them throughout their working contract and free and fair trial during criminal charges against Nepali workers. The Omani government will have to make arrangements for sending back remittance through banking channels, said the draft agreement, which also envisages a joint committee, consisting of three each officials representing both countries, for regular review and effective implementation of the labour agreement.

Currently, Nepal has general labour agreement with Qatar and Jordan whereas with other countries like United Arab of Emirates (UAE), Republic of Korea, Bahrain, Nepal has signed

a memorandum of understanding.

From over 3.5 million work permits issued between Fiscal Year 2008-09 and FY 2016-17, a total of 0.63 percent of such permits have been issued for Nepali worker for Oman, making it the eighth most popular destination among Nepali workers. In the last FY 2016-17, 2,233 labour permits were granted for Oman.

According to the latest Labour Migration Status Report, Oman receives the least number of Nepali migrant workers among the GCC countries and majority of them are employed in general cleaning labour (43.34pc), followed by general labour (16.33pc), and restaurant and hotel worker (8.52 percent).

Published: 29-05-2018 08:16

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