Nepal and UAE agree on zero investment jobs for Nepali workersNepal and the United Arab of Emirates have finalised a labour agreement that guarantees zero investment jobs in the Gulf country for Nepali workers.
Chandan Kumar Mandal
Nepal and the United Arab of Emirates have finalised a labour agreement that guarantees zero investment jobs in the Gulf country for Nepali workers.
After months of negotiations, the governments of two countries on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding on Recruitment, Employment and Repatriation of Workers.
The new deal was signed by Ram Prasad Ghimire, joint-secretary at the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security and Abdullah al-Muaimi, director of International Bilateral Relations under the Department of Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation of the UAE.
As per the latest understanding, Nepali workers will not have to bear any financial burdens—whether cost or any fees—for jobs in the emirates.
“Nepali workers will not pay any amount in cost or fees for jobs in the UAE. The employer will be paying all the expenses on behalf of the worker,” Ghimire, who is also the chief of labour relations and the social security division under the Labour Ministry, told the Post. “Employers will bear the cost of recruitment to the recruitment agencies, employment and residency of Nepali workers in the UAE.”
Employers will be paying all the costs related to airfare, services of recruitment agencies, insurance, orientation, medical test, among others, according to Ghimire.
Nepali officials, led by Ghimire, had visited the UAE in January this year to discuss the prospect of having a new agreement between two countries which will better protect rights of Nepali workers and most importantly get them ‘zero cost jobs’.
“Nepal government has always prioritised zero investment jobs for our workers. In previous agreements, there used to be mention of free visa and free ticket, but without much clarity. Now, it is clear that its employer who has to pay,” said Ghimire, adding the UAE government will ensure that the workers do not pay any recruitment fees or cost while pursuing employment opportunity.
Nepal, as the chair of the Colombo Process, a common regional forum of labour source countries, has put priority on securing zero cost jobs for its workers as well as reviewing the existing labour agreements and signing new deals with other destination countries lately.
Unlike the previous agreement between both countries, the latest labour deal has distinguished between fees and cost and clearly mentions who will be paying for Nepali workers.
The latest agreement also guarantees that Nepali workers enjoy free access to justice, labour court without any cost and no fees for representation and translation in case of seeking justice while working in the country.
“If the case is in the court and the worker needs to stay in the country, he/she will be provided with the temporary work permit and permission to stay,” said Ghimire.
The MoU allows Nepali workers to change their employer if they can provide valid reason for switching companies. It also provides the workers the freedom to return back to Nepal unless he/she is charged with any criminal offences.
The labour agreement has put special stress on enforcement of wage protection system for Nepali workers. If the employer fails to provide the monthly salary within 10 days, the UAE government can take action against the employer for failing to do so.
Besides, officials from both countries have agreed on providing two types of insurance— medical and workplace insurance—to Nepali workers.
According to Ghimire, while medical insurance will cover expenses of health ailments and treatments, the workplace insurance has extensive coverage including the repatriation of Nepali workers in case of their death at the workplace, removing the confusion on who will be responsible for repartition in the past.
The UAE government will also ensure Nepali workers are treated fairly without any discrimination on wage, safe workplace environment, among others.
The UAE has been one of the most-preferred labour destinations among the Gulf countries for Nepali migrant workers for its better treatment, remuneration among other facilities. Over 360,000 Nepali workers are currently working in the UAE.
“In order to avoid confusion regarding the rights and facilities entitled to workers, there will be a standard and uniform contract for workers mentioning work hours, overtime duration, accommodation and other facilities to be given to the workers,” said Ghimire.
According to the labour agreement, which will be signed at ministerial levels of both countries later, both governments will make special arrangements to protect vulnerable groups in order to stop human trafficking, illegal recruitment, and forced labour. Similar protection will also be provided to Nepali female migrant workers.
Officials from both countries have agreed that every legal reforms brought by the UAE government in the labour sector will automatically be incorporated in the agreement.
“The agreement will be tabled at the Cabinet in two weeks’ time. Once approved by the Cabinet, ministers from both countries will sign the document,” added Ghimire.