Nepal has opened its consulate general office in Jeddah.
Nepal’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia Udaya Raj Pandey inaugurated the new mission in the Mohammediya district in Jeddah yesterday in the presence of a large number of Nepali expatriate.
Sudhir Bhattarai is the new consul general.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Pandey said that it was a long-felt need of the Nepali migrant workers in the Western Province, which was finding it difficult to complete their consular work such as renewal of passports, receiving machine readable passports (MRPs) and other related works.
There are some 500,000 Nepali migrant workers in Saudi Arabia and a sizable number is concentrated in the western part.
The new consulate office will cater to some 125,000 nepalis in the Western Province, he said, adding that the new consulate would also ease pressure of the Riyadh Embassy in terms of workload.
The new office, Pandey said, will initially have four officers but the number will be increased as and when required depending on the nature and functions of the new mission.
He also informed that some 985 Nepali pilgrims would come for Haj this year, beginning from September 15. They will be accompanied by a support staff of medical and paramedical persons and administrative staff, he added.
The ambassador said Katmandu does not allow housemaids to go abroad for employment. “Yet many Nepali women migrant workers infiltrate into the Kingdom via countries like India and Kuwait,” he said, blaming it on ‘unscrupulous’ Indian agents for the illegal maids trafficking. Pande also said that he had rescued more than 1,000 such illegal maids. “When they are faced with a problem, they come to the embassy.”
It is a big challenge that Nepali embassy is currently facing with the housemaids, who are smuggled into Saudi Arabia through illegal channels.
Giving details of the modus operandi of the illegal Nepali maid trafficking, Pande said that the Indian job agents go to Nepal and promise the women there lucrative jobs in the Kingdom. “They are then brought into the Indian cities of Mumbai and New Delhi for export to work in Saudi households,” he added. Nepalis do not require visas to go to India.
Once inside Kingdom, these maids, Pandey said, become victim of unscrupulous recruiting agents in the Kingdom who deploy them to various sponsors according to their whims. The envoy also urged Nepali community members to comply with the local customs and conventions of Saudi society.
Advising the Nepali migrant workers to contact the mission in Jeddha and Riyad, ambassador promised for help and guidance to resolve their problems.
Most of the labour problems generate due to misunderstanding between the employer and the employee, he said, adding that the embassy can negotiate such problems amicably looking after the interests of both the parties.