KATHMANDU, Jan. 23 (Nepal Foreign Affairs)–Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi on Saturday reached Doha on a two-day official visit to discuss a range of issues relating to Nepali migrant workers in Qatar, officials said.
The foreign secretary is expected to hold talks with the authorities of the Qatari Labor and Foreign ministries. Bairagi will enquire about condition of Nepali laborers and their wages in Qatari companies, assistant spokesperson at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Deepak Adhikari told Nepal Foreign Affairs Online.
Nepali workers’ condition in Qatar is horrible. Nearly 200 Nepali migrant workers died in Qatar in 2014, many of them from heart failure, officials said Monday, figures that highlight the grim plight of labourers in the Gulf nation, according to the AFP.
Tens of thousands of Nepali youths head every year to Qatar, where a construction boom is gathering pace as it prepares to host the 2022 football World Cup.
An Amnesty International report released in November 2014 said migrant workers in Qatar endured a series of abuses including “non-payment of wages, harsh and dangerous working conditions, and shocking standards of accommodation”.
According to the AFP, more than one million Nepali migrant workers toil in the Gulf region and Southeast Asia. Qatar alone hosts around 400,000 Nepalis as part of its two-million strong migrant workforce.
Nepal has not appointed ambassador in Qatar since it recalled Ambassador Dr Maya Kumari Sharma in September, 2013 after she called the Gulf state an “open jail” for Nepalis. Sharma’s remarks were made about six months ago in an interview but only attracted attention this week after they were reprinted in a report by Britain’s Guardian newspaper that documented the deaths of dozens of Nepali workers in Qatar over the summer.