Exit permit delays Nepalis’ return from Iraq

  • Iraq Turmoil
- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Exit permit delays Nepalis’ return from Iraq

Jul 9, 2014-

Four Nepali migrant workers stranded in strife-torn Iraq await exit permits from Iraqi authorities, before the International Organization for Migration could take them to the UAE.

At Nepal’s request, the IOM is pulling them out of the Iraqi city of Arbil via UAE where Nepali officials will provide them air tickets to Kathmandu. They had been trapped in Tikrit for almost three weeks.

Prakash Bishwokarma of Chitwan, Dhan Kumar BK of Rukum, Ajit Tamang of Okhaldhunga and Santosh Lamichhane of Kaski, who worked at a restaurant in Tikrit, are set to fly back to Nepal in the first lot.

“We’ll next be evacuating seven more Nepalis from Kirkuk,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Dipak Dhital. Iraqi officials were expected to issue permits to the Nepalis by Wednesday but it did not happen.

Dhital said the four could land in Kathmandu on Friday if they got clearance by Thursday. The Nepali Embassy in Islamabad has issued one-way travel documents to them as they do not have passports.

The second batch of evacuation will be made only after the special representative of Foreign Minister on Iraq, Arjun Kant Mainali, reaches out to Baghdad. Mainali will assess the ground situation there and plan for the evacuation of Nepali nationals caught in a war between Iraqi forces and jihadist militia. He is likely to reach Baghdad on Saturday, and coordinate with Nepalis living in Iraq immediately.

Tirtha Aryal, under-secretary at the Nepali Embassy in Islamabad, will accompany Mainali to Iraq. Unless Iraq’s security situation improves by next month, the government will set up a temporary office in Iraq to help migrants escape the country.

The Nepali population in Iraq is estimated at 20,000.

Published: 10-07-2014 08:47

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