Nepal seeks clarity before Qatar opens its service centre here

- CHANDAN KUMAR MANDAL, Kathmandu

Dec 10, 2018-

Nepal has sought more details on the Qatari proposal for opening a service centre in Kathmandu for catering to Doha-bound Nepali workers.

 

The gas-rich nation has expressed interest in setting up its labour office, called a service centre, in Nepal in  order to facilitate the hiring of Nepali workers.

 

According to a high-level official at the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security, a letter has been sent to the Qatari government via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs seeking clarity over the establishment and operations of the proposed service centre.

 

“We should know the objective of such service centre and how it will operate,” said the Labour Ministry source, who is not allowed to speak on matters related to diplomatic relations.

 

In November last year, the 2022 FIFA World Cup hosting nation came up with the plan to establish such offices that would function as one-stop solution for Qatar-bound migrants, in several coun-tries including Nepal.

 

In the first phase of the plan, such service centres were said to be estab-lished in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines and Tunisia—the eight coun-tries that supply 80 percent of the Qatari labour force.

 

The source told the Post that the gov-ernment was concerned about how the proposed centre would assist Nepalis who apply for jobs in the Gulf state.

 

The concern stems from the  operation of various agencies set up to facilitate Nepalis aspiring to work in Malaysia that charged hefty fees from  job applicants setting up a syndicate  for years.

 

The facility was said to pro-vide pre-departure services like attestation of docu-ments, visa processing, sign-ing of labour contracts as well as issuing of identity cards required for workers in Qatar in a bid to simplify the worker visa process. 

 

The government will be discussing the proposal of setting up the service centre when the technical team con-sisting of officials from  both countries meets later this month.

 

Nepal and Qatar are also in discussion to review the labour agreement signed in 2005. Qatar is said to be inter-ested in charging Nepalis no fees while processing for jobs. Qatar hosts nearly 500,000 Nepali workers.

 

According to Narayan Regmi, the labour ministry spokesperson, officials from the two countries are likely to meet in the last week of December to review the bilat-eral agreement. Discussion will centre on safety and pro-tection and rights of the workers, labour relations and the service centre.

Published: 10-12-2018 07:16

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