Nepal and the UAE ink deal to offer zero investment jobs to Nepali workersEmployers will bear all the costs and fees on behalf of workers
After months of negotiations, Nepal and the United Arab of Emirates, one of the top destinations for Nepali workers, finally inked an understanding on Friday.
The memorandum of understanding between the countries on Recruitment, Employment and Repatriation of Workers was signed on the sidelines of the ongoing International Labour Organisation centenary celebrations in Geneva, Switzerland.
The agreement was formally signed by Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Security Gokarna Bista and Nasser Bin Thani Al Hamli, the UAE minister for human resources and emiratisation.
Both the countries had realised the need for reviewing the MoU, which had been over a decade old.
Last April, the two countries had agreed on the draft of the upcoming agreement when the UAE delegation led by Abdullah al-Muaimi, director of International Bilateral Relations under the Human Resources Ministry of the UAE, visited Nepal.
"We felt the need to revise the MoU since the last one was signed in 2007 as the existing agreement did not include many provisions considered worker-friendly," said Ram Prasad Ghimire, joint-secretary at the Labour Ministry.
"We had to adapt our agreement to the present context of migrant reforms in Nepal and in the UAE, and globally as both the countries have endorsed the Global Compact on Migration."
With the signing of the new labor deal, companies seeking to hire Nepali workers will bear all the costs related to recruitment, employment and residency of these workers in the Emirates. The cost and fees will cover recruitment agency fees, air fare, insurance fees, visa fees, medical examination fees and other recruitment related costs which might appear during the process.
"Within its jurisdiction, the UAE government will ensure that workers do not have to pay any recruitment related charges," added Ghimire.
As per the understanding, the terms and conditions of employment of the Nepali Workers in the UAE should be clearly defined by an 'employment contract' between the workers and their employers.
The UAE government will ensure that the employment offer indicates job specifications, required qualifications, types of jobs for which recruitment is proposed as well as the terms and conditions of employment offered that address monthly wages, non-wage benefits, accommodation and transportation when applicable, end-of-service entitlement, among other details required by the parties.
Besides, it is also the responsibility of the UAE to ensure the safety, security and welfare of the worker with special protection for women. The employer will bear all the expenses of treatment for workers in case of occupational injuries and diseases.
The understanding ensures Nepali workers fair and equal treatment comparable to other foreign workers in the UAE on matters including wage protection, working conditions, grievance handling and access to justice.
The latest labour deal also provides the Nepali workers with the freedom to change their jobs if the employer fails to meet contractual or legal obligations. In such circumstances, the worker can return to Nepal if s/he so wants.
"In such cases, the employer will bear all the associated costs," added Ghimire. The UAE has been the fourth major destination for Nepali workers. Over 50,000 workers migrate to the UAE annually. Over 360,000 Nepalis are currently working in the UAE.
A joint committee represented by officials from both the countries will be set up to finalise mechanisms for implementation of the deal.
"The committee will ensure proper implementation of the programme and determine other key items associated with worker recruitment, employment and repatriation including identification of all costs associated with the recruitment process, and joint skills programmes, among others," said Ghimire.