The government has been working for the welfare, rights, and protection of the Nepali migrant workers in Qatar. The discussions are currently underway to renew the labor agreement between Nepal and the Qatar government. Narad Bhardwaj Wagle has been appointed as the Nepali Ambassador to Qatar, recently. Over 500,000 Nepali migrant workers are currently working in Qatar. Many Nepali migrant workers have been facing a lot of hassles while some have been languishing in the Qatari jail. In this context, Khabarhub’s Special Correspondent Ramesh Bharati talked to newly appointed Nepali Ambassador to Qatar Wagle for his views. Excerpts:
You are going to lead the Nepali Embassy in Qatar soon. What are your plans?
The Nepal government has appointed me as an ambassador to Qatar. This is a big responsibility. Qatar is the major labor destination for Nepali migrant workers. First of all, I will identify the problems being faced by Nepali migrant workers and move ahead accordingly. I will work in line with the past agreements reached between Nepal and Qatar. Nepal has a close relationship with Qatar in many ways. I will render efforts to bolster the age-old ties between the two countries and try to sort out the issues faced by the Nepali migrant workers during my tenure.
What are the problems being faced by Nepali migrant workers in Qatar? How do you resolve them?
Qatar is the major destination for Nepali migrant youths. Over 100,000 youths go to Qatar for foreign employment annually. Working for the welfare of the Nepali migrant workers is the duty of the Nepali Embassy in Qatar. As an ambassador, I will try my best to resolve the problems being faced by migrant workers. The Qatar government has been providing a salary to migrant workers through the banking system and pay them on the 7th day of every month. The Embassy will only coordinate with the Qatari government and convince them to invest in Nepal. I will collect statistics of Nepali migrant workers living legally and illegally and try to send back the illegal migrant workers to Nepal. A total of 500,000 Nepali migrant workers are currently working in Qatar.
What are the areas of trade and cooperation Qatar wants to extend with Nepal?
Nepal is likely to import agricultural tools. Qatar is willing to import clean drinking water from Nepal. I have heard that the Nepal government is holding talks with the Qatari diplomatic mission in Nepal to this effect. A lot of Nepali people are involved in various professions and businesses in Qatar. Nepali products can be supplied to Qatar through these channels. The Embassy will try to attract Qatari investment in the infrastructure development, agriculture, and other areas of Nepal. It will also try to create a conducive environment for Qatari people to visit Nepal during the Visit Nepal 2020.
Nepal is renewing the labor agreement with Qatar. What could be the Nepali Embassy’s role?
Nepal had inked a labor agreement with Qatar in 2005. Discussions are underway to renew the agreement, currently. Nepal government has already implemented a provision of free- ticket and free-visa for Nepali migrant workers bound for Gulf countries and Malaysia. The Nepali Embassy will hold talks with the Qatar government. The Embassy will work to make sure that Nepali migrant workers will enjoy the provision of free-visa and free-ticket without hassles.
There have been complaints that the Nepali Embassy in Qatar will not listen to problems of Nepali migrant workers. Will there be any changes during your tenure?
I will first identify the issues of Nepali migrant workers and try to find out the root cause of the problems and try to resolve the problem. From now onwards, the Nepali Embassy will try to make the Nepali migrant workers realize the presence of Nepali Embassy. The Embassy will listen and address the woes of them. The problems will be resolved in line with the regal provisions laid down in the ILO.
How will the Embassy address the issues of a lot of Nepali migrant workers languishing in the Qatari jail?
First of all, I will study the cases of Nepali migrant workers who have been serving a jail-term in Qatar. It is not appropriate to speak on the issue without studying the facts. Then, I will try to resolve the issue of jailed Nepali migrant workers through a diplomatic initiation. The Foreign Employment Promotion Board (FEPB) under the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security has been working on the issues of those serving a jail-term in the Gulf countries for the last two years. We will try to make the FEPB’s work more effective. The issues of Nepali migrant workers languishing in Qatar will be resolved at the earliest. The Embassy will initiate its works and find out the solution to this effect.