Over 300 Nepali workers return home from KuwaitUndocumented women workers who were pardoned by the Kuwaiti government were the first to return home.
Chandan Kumar Mandal
After a wait of over two months, the first batch of Nepali migrant workers based in Kuwait arrived home on Thursday.
Over 300 Nepalis were brought home on two separate flights of Jazeera
Airways, a Kuwaiti airline company, and taken to the government’s holding centres from where they will be taken to their respective districts.
The first batch of people who landed at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu on Thursday afternoon were those Nepali migrants who were granted amnesty by the Kuwaiti government in May for either overstaying their visas or staying undocumented.
Their return was made possible after the government recently announced its plan to repatriate the Nepali citizens stranded in different parts of the world amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
As part of the repatriation plan, the government had announced to bring home the undocumented Nepali migrant workers from various labour destination countries.
“We have sent back Nepali workers who had availed the general amnesty of the Kuwaiti government,” Durga Bhandari, Nepali ambassador to Kuwait, told the Post over the phone from Kuwait. “We have prioritised sending back women workers first.”
The two flights had Nepali women who worked as housemaids in Kuwait. The first flight had 157 passengers and the second had 149.
Bhandari said all the passengers had undergone medical tests before boarding their planes.
“All these workers have gone through medical tests at the airport. They all have got their medical test report with themselves,” he said.
These workers had been waiting to return home ever since they were granted amnesty by the Kuwaiti government. They could not return immediately as the government in Nepal had restricted all international flights as a measure to contain the spread of Covdi-19.
As part of the Kuwaiti government’s amnesty scheme, the pardoned Nepali workers were also provided with free flights, which helped a lot for their return home.
After registering their names, the workers were kept in six camps set up by the Kuwaiti government.
Their passage to home became possible after the Nepal government came up with the repatriation plan last week.
“The flight tickets for Nepali workers staying in camps have been provided by the Kuwaiti government, whereas the embassy has facilitated the process,” said Bhandari. “Repatriation of the remaining workers will continue in the days to come.”
According to the Nepal government, there are a total of 2,991 Nepali migrant workers—1,688 men and 1,303 women—staying in transition camps in Kuwait.
The Kuwaiti government has said it would take around 20 flights to fly all the Nepali workers back home as per the evacuation plans of the Nepal government.In the first phase of repatriation, the government has planned to bring home at least 25,000 Nepalis on priority basis from various labour destination countries. The repatriation process began on Thursday and will continue till June 25. While the government has agreed to evacuate the Nepali citizens stranded in different parts of the world, the evacuees have been told to pay for their flights—a decision that has come under heavy criticism.