Muscat: The recruitment of Nepalese housemaids in Oman has been put on hold temporarily, according to a senior official of the Nepal Embassy in Muscat.
Speaking to the Times of Oman, Dev Doot Dhakal, Attaché (Administration and Consular) of Nepal Embassy, said the ban has been imposed to regulate the recruitment process, and to ensure the safety of Nepalese women domestic workers in Oman.
"It will also end certain malpractices which agencies in Nepal indulge in while recruiting domestic workers from the Himalayan nation," he said.
Following the ban, the Ministry of Labour of Nepal has appointed a committee to study and recommend ways to regulate the hiring process of housemaids.
"Once the recommendation is made, the recruitment will be done as per the new rules and regulations ," he said.
According to the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), the number of Nepali nationals in the private sector was 12,976 in April 2014 including 9,292 men and 3,682 women.
Nepali women looking for jobs outside Nepal will have to undergo a mandatory 21-day training programme in their home country. "The training is imparted by private firms in Nepal. Our Ministry of Labour and Employment is working with these firms to make the training programmes effective. We have stopped issuing labour permits for now. I cannot give a timeline as to when it will start again," he added.
The new move would not affect the maids already working in Oman.
Nepal's new rules for maids
Nepal had lifted a decade-long ban on issuing permits to female domestic workers for working in the Middle East, including the GCC states, in June 2011.
However, in August 2012, it declined requests from women under 30 years of age for working in the Gulf. The age bar was aimed at preventing abuse.
Several people who are unaware about the ban, continue to apply. "We can't do anything about it. Their applications have been put on hold by the ministry in Kathmandu due to the ban," the official added.
Manpower agencies in Oman are now facing difficulty in hiring Nepali expatriates under this category.
To employ a Nepalese maid above 30 years of age, Oman residents will have to apply through the Nepali Embassy in Muscat, and submit appropriate documents including marriage certificate and salary certificates.
A refundable security deposit of OMR500 has been made mandatory, and the wages have been fixed at OMR100 per month, in addition to accommodation and food. "Besides, they will also have to buy a life insurance cover of OMR20,000," Dev Doot Dhakal said.
The key objective of these proposals is to ensure that the housemaids enjoy their rights, and their safety is ensured.
"We also want to stop the illegal entry of domestic helps into Oman from other countries. If an employer wants a domestic help, he will have to go meet the authorities concerned in Oman and Nepal," the official added.
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