Nepal, UAE agree on revised labor deal; employers to bear all cost of Nepali migrant workers

Nepal UAE labor agreement

KATHMANDU, April 26: Nepal and the United Arab Emirates have agreed to sign a revised memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Recruitment, Employment and Repatriation of Workers that will free the Nepali workers from any financial burdens for a job in the Gulf country.

As per the latest labor agreement, the employer will bear all the costs related to recruitment, employment and the residency of Nepali Worker in the United Arab Emirates including but not limited to recruitment agency fees, air ticket costs, insurance fees, visa fees, medical examination fees and all other recruitment related costs and fees. The Government of the UAE will ensure that the worker does not have to pay any recruitment related costs and fees.

Joint-secretary at the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security Ram Prasad Ghimire and Director of International Bilateral Relations under the Department of Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation of the UAE, Abdullah al-Muaimi reached a consensus on the agreement during a two-day Bilateral Technical meeting.

The agreement is the revised deal of the ‘MoU between the Government of Nepal and the Government of the United Arab Emirates in the Field of Manpower’ signed on July 3, 2007. The labor pact is expected to benefit 360,000 Nepali migrant workers in the UAE.

The agreement also guarantees Nepali workers enjoy free access to justice, labor court without any cost and no fees for representation and translation in case of seeking justice while working in the country until the case is resolved. Also, the workers will be entitled to apply for a temporary work permit in accordance with the relevant laws of the UAE.

Moreover, the UAE government can take action against employers who fail to provide a monthly salary to the workers within 10 days. Also, Nepali workers will be provided with medical and workplace insurance.

The Government of the UAE shall ensure extensive and close oversight over the application of the existing wage protection systems to monitor timely payment of wages and other benefits. Besides, the UAE law has a provision of both work-related insurance as well as medical insurance schemes that cover almost all the cases of accidents/injuries and sickness except personal negligence, reads the MoU.

The MoU will also allow the workers to change their employers if they can provide a valid reason for shifting company. Also, the workers will have the freedom to return back to Nepal unless he/she is charged with any criminal offenses.

The Worker is eligible to seek and obtain alternative employment when it is duly established that the Employer has failed to meet contractual or legal obligations to the Worker due to any reason including closure or winding up of business or if the worker is subjected to violation of any of his/her rights under UAE laws, without prejudice to the right of the worker to collect his/her dues from the employer and/or seek judicial redress. In such events, the Worker shall also have the right to return back to Nepal if he/she so desires. In such a case, the Employer shall bear all associated costs, reads the MoU.

Furthermore, the UAE government will ensure no Nepali workers are discriminated on wage, workplace environment, among others. The UAE will also ensure the safety, security, and welfare of the worker with due regard to the female worker.

Once the cabinets of both governments approve the document, the MoU will be signed by the ministers of both countries.

Nepal, as the chair of the Colombo Process, has lobbied for zero cost jobs for the workers and review of the existing labor agreement with destination countries.