MAY 03, 2012 KATHMANDU – Saudi Arabia is leading job market for Unskilled and semi skilled Nepali job seekers, More than 500 thousand Nepalese are living and working in the king. Even big volume of workers are working in Saudi, Nepalese are the lowest paid due to lack of proper government regulation and wage protection program.
However, The Ministry of Labour and Transport Management (MoLTM) has for the first time proposed the minimum wage for migrant workers going to Saudi Arabia.
A joint meeting of stakeholders held on last Sunday decided to ask the government to fix the basic salary at 1,000 Saudi Arabian riyal.
According to ministry sources, the proposed basic salary for migrant workers will be 800 riyal plus a 200 riyal allowance for meals.
The meeting was attended by the joint secretary of the MoLTM Binod KC, director general of the Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE) Purna Chandra Bhattarai and the representative of manpower companies Bal Bahadur Tamang among others.
The revision of the basic salary is likely to improve the condition of migrant workers. They have often faced difficulties in repaying the massive loans they take to pay their pre-departure costs.
Bhattarai confirmed the decision but refused to give the date it would be implemented. “The meeting agreed to refer the revised salary to the government. The decision will be sent to the ministry for consideration,” he said.
The Nepali mission in Saudi Arabia had first proposed to increase the wage. The embassy had requested stakeholders to hike the basic wage of migrant workers citing rising incidences of desertion among workers. According to the official, the embassy has proposed giving a raise to workers in 36 professions.
Low wages have led to many workers fleeing their workplaces in desperation. Lately, there has been an unprecedented increase in the number of runaway workers living illegally in Saudi Arabia, exposing them to higher risk. Reports claim that one-third of the Nepali migrant workers in Saudi Arabia are illegal.
Joint secretary of the MoLTM Binod KC said that a positive consensus was drawn from the meeting. He added that the decision would be finalized through a minister-level meeting.
“We have decided to forward the report to the minister-level meeting. Each part of the decision will be studied and finalized at the meeting. So it’s hard to say what the actual salary will be at the moment,” said KC.
Even Similar MOU has signed up with UAE, Qatar and Malaysia in the past in various occasions, implementing and monitoring part is absence and migrant workers from Nepal are often victimized with low payment, non payment and forcing them to stay illegally in those countries.