08/29/2009 10:55 PM
Dubai: Nepal is considering lifting a ban on the recruitment of housemaids in the Middle East, said Mohammad Aftab Alam, the Nepalese Minister of Labour and Transport Management.
Alam who is in Dubai for the third two-day Non-Resident Nepalese (NRN) conference, said this would being done to counter unregistered recruitment agencies who get Nepalese women to the Middle East via neighbouring countries India and Bangladesh.
However, key Nepalese participants at the conference were of the opinion that prior to lifting the ban on housemaids, their government should ensure that Nepalese diplomatic missions in the Middle East were given the capacity to assist to Nepalese housemaids who approach the embassy in times of need.
Nepal opened an embassy in the UAE in 2004. It was then headed by a Charge d'Affairs, but a year and a half ago, Arjun B. Thapa was appointed as the first ambassador to the UAE.
There are 125,258 Nepalese citizens in the UAE. Of this number, 75,000 are in Dubai.
"We are encountering certain problems because of the non-registered agencies in Nepal who target women from villages.
"These women, when they end in a problem, approach our diplomatic missions. We are unable to track down the culprits who were behind recruiting them in illegal manner.
"By lifting the ban we will be able to streamline the recruitment of housemaids to this part of the world and will also be able to bring their agents to book if we come across an irregularities," said Alam.
The NRN conference will also serve as a curtain-raiser for the Global NRN conference that is scheduled to take place in October in Katmandu this year.
Ambassador Thapa said its was difficult to check monitor the illegally recruited Nepalese housemaids in the Middle East.
He said the embassy had received cases and had tried to solve them.
"It is often the case [that] victims, when they approach us, do not even know who had exactly recruited and sent them here to the UAE. As a result we are unable to get to the culprits and refer them to the law," Ambassador Thapa said.
He also added that Nepal facilitates orientation programmes for its nationals who travel overseas for employment.
'[The] majority of Nepalese in the UAE are employed as construction workers, security guards and in the hospitality sector," said Thapa.
A Nepalese citizen has to pay 70,000 Nepalese rupees (Dh3,352) to accredited recruitment agencies to register for an overseas employment. This amount is fixed by the government.