KATHMANDU, Sept 27: Some four months since the imposition of a ban on the employment of Nepali migrant workers in four conflict-ravaged countries, the government is making final preparations to allow security guards to work in those countries under stringent security-related conditions.
On June 23, the government had decided to impose a ban on the employment for Nepali workers in Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and Iraq, following the Kabul bomb attack that left 13 Nepali security guards dead.
Based on the recommendations of a field report by a government fact finding mission, a ministerial-level decision has been taken to reopen the countries, pending endorsement by the cabinet.
“In order to end the existing trend of Nepalis going to such countries through illegal routes and to ensure that security guards and other migrant workers have adequate security protection against possible threats, we decided to review the ban imposed by the previous government,” Labor Minister Surya Man Gurung told Republica.
He also informed that Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal feels positively about the ministry's preparations to lift the ban and strengthen the legal arrangements for sending migrant workers to those countries.
A fact-finding mission led by Aabha Shrestha Karna, a joint-secretary who heads the Employment Coordination and Labor Relation Division at the ministry, visited Afghanistan, inspected the bomb attack spot, interacted with security guards there and sought their suggestions before preparing a report. The mission suggested to the government to ponder the security measures for those opting to work in those countries.
We have recommended the use of helicopters or bullet-proof vehicles for deploying Nepali security guards, using different routes to the duty stations every day, and increasing the insurance coverage among other facilities for the security guards, the minister said.
The fact-finding mission also recommended that the duty stations and living quarters of security guards should be arranged within the Green Zones where the offices of the UN and other diplomatic agencies are located.
If these updated security measures are strictly followed, the risk factor is sure to diminish, ministry spokesperson Govinda Mani Bhurtel said, adding that other stakeholders were also positive about the safety measures for security guards.
Diplomatic missions in the conflict zones were in close contact with the ministry and gave security assurances to the authorities via various channels.
The USA and UK among other countries had put forth the complications that arose following the ban.
Indra Gurung, operations manager of FSI Worldwide, a recruiting company that hires security guards from Nepal and other countries and supplies them to diplomatic missions after training, said that Nepali guards have become the first choice of the international community because of their quailty of service. “As the ban continued for more than four months, preparations were made to recruit security guards from India and the Philippines among other countries,” he said.
Thousands of Nepalis are estimated to be working in Afghanistan and Iraq and a majority of them work illegally, but the government lacks up-to-date records.
The government has also made preparations to take stern action against those going illegally to destinations like Afghanistan and Iraq.