HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Shortage of foreign job aspirants has forced the government to hike salaries in the destination countries in Gulf; Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.
Ministry of Labour and Transport Management is revising salary structure upwards for Gulf states to attract potential job aspirants, said spokesperson at the ministry Buddhi Khadka. “We have increased salary from Saudi Riyal (SR) 600 to 800 SR,” he said adding that the revision of other destination countries is also on card.
“Gulf countries are offering lowest salary to Nepali workers, so it needs to be revised to attract more foreign job aspirants,” he said. “The ministry is increasing migrant workers’ salary to at least $250 (Rs 20,500) from current average $180 (Rs 14,760). The outsourcers have also agreed to increase salary in Saudi Arabia and the talks are going on to revise salary of other countries upwards,” Khadka added.
The ministry and outsourcing agencies have agreed to increase worker’s salary for Saudi Arabia to SR 1,000 including boarding facility, on Sunday.
Nepali embassy in Jeddah has advised government to revise salary upward last month after studying salary structure of migrant workers in the destination country. The study has revealed that Nepali migrant workers are getting the lowest salary compared to the workers from India, Sri Lanka, Philippines and African countries.
Nepali and Bangladeshi workers are found earning the lowest salary of around SR 800 ($210). However, Bangladesh is not in a mood to revise salary of gulf bound workers.
“We have agreed to increase migrant workers salary following workers’ shortage but it may back fire as the neighbouring countries are sending workers at a low salary,” said second vice president of Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies Kumud Khanal.
According to him, Nepali outsourcing sector is in risk unless Nepal endorses Saudi Arabian government salary. “If Bangladesh and African countries supply workers at the current wage there will not be any demand for Nepali workers,” he said adding that it is hard to implement the decision.
He, however, suggested the government to start diplomatic efforts to revise migrant worker’s salary in other gulf countries and Malaysia. According to the association, outsourcers are getting sufficient workers according to the demand they have in hands. “Outsourcers have to visit villages to convince youths for foreign jobs. They have mobilised their agents in villages,” said president of the association Bal Bahadur Tamang. “But the department’s raid against agent’s offices have created problem,” he said, adding that they have above 100,000 demands in hands but only one-third of them has contacted for foreign jobs.
“Branches and agent’s office are illegal, according to Foreign Employment Act,” director general at the Department of Foreign Employment Purnachandra Bhattarai, said, agreeing that there is a shortage of foreign job aspirants but his drive is to protect the sector. “The government is ready to facilitate outsourcers according to the law but they should come forward,” he added.