Govt mulls lifting work ban on Nepalis in conflict-hit countries

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Sep 30, 2016-

The government is working to lift a ban on Nepali citizens to work in Afghanistan hardly a month and half after the Kabul suicide attack that claimed the lives of 13 Nepali security guards working for the Canadian embassy. The government had imposed restriction on its national from taking up jobs in Afghanistan three days after the deadly attack that draw widespread public outrage. 

The Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE) is likely to take a decision on the matter based on a report of a committee formed to assess the security situation of Nepalis working in Afghanistan. Last month, the committee had recommended the government to lift the ban after taking all necessary measures to ensure security of Nepali workers. 

In the report submitted to Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the committee has stated that an increasing number of workers were going to work in Afghanistan through informal channel following the ban. 

“It’s not just the case with Afghanistan. Hundreds of Nepali migrants have been going to countries like Iraq, Libya. So, we are also thinking to review travel bans imposed on war-ravaged countries other than Afghanistan,” said a ministry official requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the press. 

According to initial plans, the official explained, workers would be allowed to join jobs offered by selected employers, including the Nato allies and other western companies offering full security to workers. On Sunday, Labour Minister Surya Man Gurung had confirmed about government’s preparations to lift the ban. But some stakeholders, including the Foreign Ministry and Nepali embassy in Pakistan have been pressing the government not to lift the ban in haste, arguing that the western employers were spending very little in security of workers. 

Experts claim that the travel ban has done very little to discourage workers from going to conflict zones. A recent report titled ‘Labouring Under Fire’ published by the Centre for the Study of Labour and Mobility suggests that many Nepalis have been going to Afghanistan without obtaining permission from the Nepal government even after the Kabul attack. 

The report concludes that the government has been too shortsighted in seeking a solution through travel ban while workers are being offered alternative routes. 

In a recent interview with the Post, MoLE Secretary Bishnu Prasad Lamsal had said that the government would take necessary measures to ensure security of workers before allowing them to go to such volatile countries.

Published: 30-09-2016 08:11

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