Qatar seeks Nepalese to fill service sector vacancies during FIFA World Cup

Qatar is looking towards Nepal for workers to fill service sector jobs during the 2022 FIFA World Cup as it prepares to host the world’s largest sporting event.

The oil-rich Gulf state has modernized and built new infrastructure for soccer tournaments scheduled for November, and it needs legions of workers to run it.

Nepal has allowed Qatar to hire Nepalese workers for a temporary period covering the World Cup, officials said.

“The Nepalese Embassy in Doha has informed us of the interest shown by Qatari companies to employ Nepalese workers for service sector jobs during the World Cup,” said Taneshwar Bhosal, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security. the post.

Boussal said that “the ministerial decision issued last Friday gave the green light to move the process forward.”

The World Cup will be held in Qatar from November 21 to December 18. This is the first World Cup ever held in the Arab world.

In an effort to accommodate the expected influx of players, supporters and media, the hotel industry in Qatar has added 26,000 hotel rooms, according to a report.

We demanded the free ticket visa system for Nepalese workers. “The employer has to bear all the costs,” Bossal said.

The Nepalese workforce has made a great contribution during the construction of infrastructure in Qatar for the biggest football event. “Hence, Nepalese should be given priority in service sector jobs.”

The number of workers to be hired has not been specified.

The decision to hire Nepalese workers in the service sector comes amid growing criticism of Qatar for firing workers early and putting them on five months of unpaid leave so they were not visible during the tournament.

According to reports, the Gulf state last year took a policy of expelling thousands of migrant workers who built stadiums and other infrastructure for the World Cup.

Labor experts say such a move would not only increase the financial burden for migrant workers, but would also deprive them of the recognition they deserve for their efforts.

“Although the state is free to shape policies according to its needs, the workers who have given their blood and sweat to develop a huge property deserve to be honored and appreciated,” said Rameshwar Nepal, a labor migration expert.

“Those who have legal rights to stay there and watch the football tournament should not be deprived of this opportunity,” Nepal added.

Experts say the most important aspect to focus on is immigrant rights.

Migrant departures from Nepal were halted briefly due to Covid-19, but migration has now returned to pre-pandemic levels. More than 1,700 Nepalese youths leave the country daily to work abroad, according to official figures.

In the last fiscal year ending July 16, more than 628,503 people obtained work permits, the second highest number on record, according to government statistics. This figure excludes young people leaving the country for higher education and neighboring India.

The money that migrant workers send home has become the backbone of Nepal’s economy over the years. Remittance inflows amounted to 986.2 billion rupees in the last fiscal year ending in mid-July, according to the Ministry of Foreign Employment.

The Gulf states and Malaysia are the first business destinations for Nepalese. Hundreds of Nepalese have died, injured or faced labor exploitation over the years in these countries.

Families of 7,467 deceased migrant workers and 1,513 others who were injured or fell ill received compensation between 2008, 2009 and 2018-19 from the Board of Foreign Employment, the agency responsible for caring for Nepalese migrant workers, according to a government report.

“Our government’s inability to aggressively raise safety issues during bilateral meetings is one of the reasons affecting the safety and security of Nepalese migrant workers,” said Jeevan Banya, Assistant Director at the Center for the Study of Work and Mobility, Baha Social Sciences. A non-profit organization involved in research in social sciences in Nepal.

Although government officials say worker safety has always been their top priority, labor experts say Nepal’s concerns are hardly being raised.

“We have been raising the issue of the safety of Nepalese workers abroad. Talks have been held with stakeholders in Qatar as well as other business destinations,” said Bhusal.

Nepal has not been able to intervene effectively when cases of labor rights abuses arise.

“Our labor diplomacy has been weak,” said the Nepal labor expert. “Although the labor agreements recently signed by Nepal are a bit better, it still lacks details regarding workers’ rights and protection schemes.”

A recently published report based on a two-year investigation by Equidem Research and the Global Labor Justice-International Labor Forum has revealed rampant labor and human rights abuses in 13 of FIFA’s 17 partner hotel groups in Qatar.

“By interviewing 80 workers from 10 countries, including Nepal, who work in hotels that will host players and visitors during the World Cup, it was revealed that migrant workers face discrimination on the basis of nationality and race,” said the South Asia director in Nepal. at Equidem Research, a UK-based human rights research organisation.

They have been underpaid and faced wage cuts especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. They were charged with illegal recruitment fees and forced to work overtime without pay.”

“My salary does not reflect my skill level, but rather my nationality,” the report quoted a Nepalese employee working at the Westin Hotel in Doha as saying. “While Filipinos get paid QR1,600 for the same work, they get paid QR1,000.”

Nepal added that some workers reported harassment from colleagues, supervisor and guests.

For years, the exploitation of Nepalese workers abroad has not stopped.

“Our embassies and diplomatic missions in business destinations have been limited to doing administrative work,” said Ganesh Gurung, a senior expert on labor migration.

“We have many weaknesses. We have not been able to send workers by making them skilled. The government is responsible for this. Besides, we have poor labor negotiations.”

Working with the ILO since 2018, Qatar has established a non-discriminatory minimum wage, developed an electronic payment system to promote timely and complete payment of wages, and put in place some procedures to identify and address labor rights violations.

Equidem Research says the new laws have weakened some of the harshest features of the sponsorship system, allowing migrant workers more freedom to change jobs without their employer’s permission.

Qatar, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia have taken some similar measures to limit employer control over workers. The report says that despite recent reforms, significant implementation and implementation challenges remain in Qatar and elsewhere.

The Nepalese migrant workers are mostly unskilled because they belong to lower economic classes. They are forced to leave the country without basic information about their work destinations and work environment.

According to experts, the government has not been able to implement the updated curricula for pre-departure orientation training. The curriculum provides useful information about rules, regulations, traffic rules, labor laws, local culture and traditions.

A new approach has been introduced to provide country-specific information to departing workers through audio-visual media, but is still not implemented. Organizations responsible for providing such training say they cannot implement the new curriculum by following current business procedures.

“The new curriculum is already outdated with the ever-changing dynamics in the business sector,” Banya said.

“A revised syllabus was implemented on February 13 last year,” said Mia Kadel, Undersecretary and Director of Training and Research at the Foreign Employment Council.

However, the institutions registered to provide such training have not implemented this. They have been calling for a review of work procedures as well as school curricula.”

Raja Ram Gautam, President of the Federation of Foreign Employment Guidance Associations of Nepal, said they have been providing the same mentoring training for the past decade.

“The main issue hindering its implementation is the current working procedures. We have been urging the authorities to amend it for the past four years, but they are not listening,” Gautam said.

“Although the board of directors did not provide us with audio-visual training materials, there is no clarity if the institution needs to provide country-specific training or only one country,” Gautam added.

The government formed a committee to resolve issues related to the pre-departure orientation training program.

A large number of Nepalese workers were killed in traffic accidents.

“It could have been reduced if the pre-departure orientation training program had been properly implemented,” Nepal said.

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