State Minister Gurung seeks validation of housemaid visas
Aug 24, 2014-
Ignoring the recommendation of the Nepali Embassy in Kuwait and the government’s earlier decision, State Minister for Labour and Employment Tek Bahadur Gurung has directed the embassy to lift the ban imposed on Nepali housemaids to enter Qatar.
Gurung, who also happens to be a foreign employment entrepreneur, had allegedly sent a letter, following pressure from agents and middlemen, to validate the contract and visas issued on behalf of Nepali housemaids before June 14 even if the sponsor (kafala) is different from that stated by the agents.
The embassy, however, is preparing to send the letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) for reconsideration.
Gurung had sent letters on different dates to the MoFA, pertaining to the visa ban. The first letter dated June 27 was sent to the MoFA to validate the contract and visa in case the sponsor submitted a guarantee letter.
After the letter was not entertained, Gurung again sent a letter, terming it as a revised version, on July 7 to validate the visas procured before June 14. As a continuation, the present letter was forwarded seeking validation of visas before mid-September.
Meanwhile, Dharma Raj Giri, chairperson of the Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) in Kuwait, alleged that while one group was active in the country collecting as much as 600 Dinars (approximately Rs 200,000) from each agent and businessman, another had been lobbying in Nepal to lift the ban.
Stating that the Labour Ministry was influenced by businessmen and agents, more than 40 Nepali organisations in Kuwait have launched a signature campaign requesting to remove the ban only after a labour agreement is signed between the two countries.
In the campaign launched at the initiative of the NRNA, more than 3,000 women have put their signatures. Likewise, the organisation has also submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister Sushil Koirala urging him not to lift the ban.
The embassy has stated that the decision will be considered only after a high-level diplomatic visit. “The decision to let Nepali migrant women into the country during existing conditions would mean nothing less than playing with their security,” said an embassy official.
It would be in the interest of women to take a decision over the matter only after a field visit by officials from the concerned ministries, the Prime Minister’s Office and officials from Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority, he said.
Currently, there are over 200 Nepali women, who were subjected to physical abuse and torture, are taking shelter at the embassy. Agents who send these women to the Gulf country, however, pocket as much as Rs 100,000 from each of them. At the recommendation of the Nepali Embassy at Qatar, the Labour Ministry on April 18 had imposed a ban on women aged below 30 to enter the country to work as housemaids. Following the ban, the embassy halted the contract and visa validation process on April 25.
Published: 25-08-2014 09:21