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Over 300 Nepali brokers active in Kuwait Nov-07-2010
PRABHAKAR GHIMIRE KATHMANDU, Nov 4: More than 300 Nepali brokers are involved in trafficking of undocumented Nepali female workers to Kuwait and their non-cooperation has impeded the efforts of Nepali mission there to make the workplaces safer and systematize the recruiting process. Nepalese embassy in Kuwait has introduced a provision of insurance policy and legal certificate for domestic helps to get approval of documents before forwarding the process for visa. However, most of the recruiting agencies are seeking unorganized channel to traffic female workers to Kuwait, Nepali ambassador to Kuwait Madhuwan Poudel told Republica on Wednesday. Poudel, who is currently in the capital, said only a few Nepali brokers were following the due process to arrange recruitment for workers in the oil-rich Gulf country. Around 450 Kuwaiti agents are active in recruiting foreign workers in association with brokers from different countries, including Nepal. Nepali workers are also working with agents of other sending countries like Bangladesh and the Philippines, who are deliberately ignoring our call to make insurance policy and assurance of legal assistance to Nepali workers, Poudel said. Other countries like Sri Lanka, the Philippines and India have already made insurance for their workers mandatory in Kuwait. The countries have also arranged legal assistance for domestic helps in Kuwait. According to Poudel, only about 900 workers of the estimated 5,000 workers who landed in Kuwait after May, 2010, have secured insurance policy and legal certificate. In case of death of workers at work places, the employers will provide 3,000 Kuwaiti Dinar as compensation to the families and 3,500 Dinar to transport body to Nepal. But they arent required to pay the amount if the worker does not have insurance policy. Similarly, legal certificate covers the fee of lawyers amounting to as much as 1,000 Kuwait Dinar. To uphold legal rights of workers and to provide them financial support in case of adversities, Nepali mission has urged the Kuwait-based brokers to provide Domestic Helps Insurance Policy on behalf of the employers and Legal Service Certificate to the workers. Kuwaits labor law covers only the workers in the corporate sector. In the absence of legal right to fight for their causes, Nepali workers are facing financial exploitation and other problems in Kuwait. More than 33,000 of around 40,000 Nepalis working in Kuwait are domestic helps. Most of those working as domestic helps are house maids. More than 650,000 workers from different countries are working as domestic helps in Kuwait. The Kuwaiti government allows its citizens to hire up to four domestic helps. Taking note of rising cases of Nepalis entering Kuwait through illegal channels, the Nepali mission has also requested the Kuwaiti government to bring foreign brokers working with local agents under the legal purview to make them more responsible and accountable. We have also requested the Kuwaiti government to downsize the number of local recruiting agents, bringing down the number of designated agents to around 20 or 25, so that the government can monitor their activities, Poudel added. He also said as many as 30 undocumented Nepali workers enter Kuwait every day. As per the estimation of Nepal government, around 200,000 undocumented female workers are in Gulf countries. A total of 7,865 Nepali workers entered Kuwait during fiscal year 2009/10.