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KATHMANDU: Nepalis in three British Overseas Territories have urged the Government of Nepal to take them back home following the government’s decision to take back on a priority basis the Nepali citizens abroad who are facing problems due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Nepalis, who are working in the Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, and Bermuda Island, have urged the Nepal government to take them back. The Cayman and Turks islands are in the Caribbean Sea while Bermuda is in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean.
Although the three islands are British Overseas Territories, they are geographically near to America. The Nepalis working in these territories which are the world’s best tourism destinations are working in hotels, restaurants, tourism sector and related companies, security companies, and beauty parlor.
It is said that work is completely stopped due to the lockdown in Cayman Island. Although the Nepalis working in big and international brand hotels are getting a minimum salary, the Nepalis working in other smaller hotels, restaurants, and in beauty parlor are not getting their pay, Rabin Shrestha, who is based in Cayman Island, said.
According to Shrestha who comes from Kathmandu, Nepal, the companies in the Island have notified the workers to go back home if possible as there was no immediate possibility of resumption of works.
Narendra Maharjan, who works in Bermuda, said most of the Nepalis there work in hotels. The hotels in Bermuda had stated that they would provide a minimum salary for 12 weeks after the lockdown.
Accordingly, the Nepalis working in hotels have already got their minimum salary for five weeks. Maharjan, who hails from Kirtipur, said they are concerned about what the situation would turn out to be in the remaining seven weeks.
Similarly, Lila Uprety, who is based in Turks and Caicos, said that most of the Nepalis in these islands work in hotels and they were being paid half of their salary for some time during the lockdown. Uprety from Dhading district of Nepal said most of the Nepalis wanted to go back home as they are not sure how long this situation would last.
Although the exact number of Nepalis in these islands is not known, it is estimated that there are around 300 to 350 Nepalis in Cayman, between 60 to 70 Nepalis in Bermuda, and between 50 to 60 Nepalis working in Turk and Caicos. The cost of living in these territories is very high as these are tourist destinations.
Meanwhile, Sharad Raj Aran, the deputy chief of mission and spokesman at the Embassy of Nepal in the UK, said the Embassy was in touch with the Nepalis in the overseas territories and that it would extend the required assistance if the situation for their returning Nepal arose.