Nepal has temporarily stopped issuing permits to women seeking to go abroad as domestic helpers to all Gulf countries and Malaysia. "We have temporarily stopped issuing work permits to women seeking to work as housemaids in the Gulf countries and Malaysia and written to the Nepali missions asking them to inform about the ban to the concerned governments," said State Minister for Labour Tek Bahadur Gurung.
Speaking to The Times Kuwait, Charge d’Affaires at the Nepalese Embassy in Kuwait Bishal Bhattarai confirmed that they received a letter from the Nepalese Foreign Ministry informing them of such a move and to inform local governments of the decision.
Elaborating on the issue Mr. Bhattarai said the ban is only temporary and a high level committee has been formed to study and recommend a better mechanism for employment procedures of domestic workers to ensure their safety and security.
Commenting on reports of mistreatment and abuse, Mr. Bhattarai said the government had good intentions to ensure protection of their workforce and it is in everyone’s interest for a better recruiting mechanism.
The government had noticed widespread breaches of the present system where most of the domestics travel through illegal channels and are exploited by unscrupulous agents.
"This decision is also aimed at preventing Nepali housemaids from entering the Gulf countries through illegal channels as many Nepali women go via India and there is no control of this channel
"We have requested labour receiving countries to cooperate with us until the government comes up with a permanent mechanism for long-term solution," said Labour and Employment Ministry's spokesman Buddhi Bahadur Khadka.
The government has also initiated diplomatic process to sign labour agreement for domestic workers with different countries, including Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Nepal has already sent a draft of the labour agreement to different countries but has so far received no response from any of them.
There are approximately 60,000 Nepalese residing in Kuwait and more than 3,200,000 Nepali migrant workers believed to be working in different countries including over 450,000 in Malaysia alone. Some 250,000 Nepali women work as domestic helpers in different Gulf countries.