Govt to lower migrant woman age bar to 25

  • jobs in gulf, malaysia
- Roshan Sedhai, Kathmandu

Dec 18, 2014-

Nepali women should be at least 25 years old in order to work as housemaids abroad, says a proposed rule on domestic workers. Once enacted, the guidelines, which are expected to end the prevailing ban for Nepali women to work as housemaids in the Gulf and Malaysia, will make it mandatory for female migrants to take jobs through foreign employment agencies.

Nepal imposed a ‘temporary ban’ in July on women going to the region for housemaid jobs citing the need for stronger regulation to protect them from widespread abuse and exploitation there.

Earlier, in August 2012, the government barred women below 30 to go to the Gulf and Middle East to work in the domestic sector, 18 months after it ended a 12-year ban for the region.

Officials at the Ministry of Labour and Employment that readied the guidelines say the age bar was lowered as per the suggestion from stakeholders including rights groups. They argue that women below 25 are unable to cope with physical and emotional pressure of such a demanding job.

“Countries like India and Sri Lanka have employed such measures in order to prevent abuse and exploitation,” said Buddhi Bahadur Khadka, head of the Foreign Employment Division at the Labour Ministry.

The guidelines, being reviewed by the Foreign Ministry, require a host country to sign a memorandum of understanding in order to hire workers from Nepal. The employer should ensure a minimum wage of $300 with additional provisions of food and accommodation, weekly day off and annual leave.

“This is a measure to provide women economic, physical and psychological protection,” said Badri Karki, spokesman for the Department of Foreign Employment.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has shown its willingness to address workers’ safety and security concerns raised by Nepal. Responding to an MoU forwarded by Nepal earlier this week, the country has said it is ready to abide by all the conditions except including a sample of labour contract in the bilateral agreement and forming a community outreach centre for maids.

“We have been asking them to allow maids to have weekly communal gatherings. Saudi Arabia should ensure a sense of freedom and safety for maids,” said Khadka, adding that the country is reluctant also to specify the minimum wage in the pact.

Data show about 1,000 women returned home after facing abuse and exploitation in job destinations last year.

PM wishes migrants prosperity

KATHMANDU: Prime Minister Sushil Koirala on Thursday issued a message wishing prosperity for Nepalis working across the globe. On the occasion of International Migrants Day, Koirala lauded the role played by migrant workers in keeping the national economy afloat. He said the government was committed to ensuring favourable environment for safe migration and defending their rights of decent working conditions and minimum wage. (PR)


Published: 19-12-2014 20:55

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