Stranded Nepali migrant workers implore for help

(By Bharat Pradhan)

Dammam (Saudi Arabia), March 13: Complaints have been pouring in over the Nepali Embassy’s apparent lack of concern towards the deteriorating plight of migrant Nepali workers stranded in Saudi Arabia.
The Embassy’s doors have been repeatedly knocked by the victims seeking to be saved from a legal conundrum in which they fell due to purposeful or inadvertent negligence shown by manpower companies in Nepal.
At least 10 Nepali migrant workers had arrived at the ‘Amjad Faisal Otaibi Establishment for Construction’ company at Jeddah area lying at the western part of Saudi Arabia some 22 months ago through the Al-naseer Overseas Pvt based in Kathmandu only to find out that the company was on verge of closure.
Numerous appeals have been made to the Consulate General of Nepal based at Jeddah for intervention, but it has fallen on deaf ears, according to Kamurdin Miya of Sunsari district. “It has been years since we have knocked on the Consulate’s door, but the employees there only give us assurances,” Miya said, adding “We are crying here whereas our family members are crying back at home, but who will listen to us?”
The company was put on a red list by the Saudi government after which the migrant workers have not been able to receive residential permit. The company did not provide the workers with mandatory identity papers due to which the Nepali workers have been stranded.
The workers that have fallen ill are not even receiving medical attention as they do not have residential permit papers. Unless the company under red list does not take steps for reformation, it will be barred from making any transactions or undertaking any activities and be allowed to shift the workers to other companies.
Prem Narayan from Rajbiraj charged the manpower company based in Kathmandu of tricking them into working for a company nearing closure. The workers – branded as illegal – will be forced to cough up around 17,000 to 20,000 Saudi riyals or Rs 500,000 to 600,000 in fine to return home.
They are subjected to repeated arrests by the police, which increase the amount of their fine. They have implored for help as they will not be able to return without making such huge payment which is invariably beyond their capacity.
Meanwhile, Consulate General, Rewati Raman Poudel, at the Consulate office at Jeddah says efforts are on to rescue the workers. Poudel related the problem to paying up huge sums in fine as a reason for creating hurdle as the workers have stayed in the country for long on illegal status.