Paying the price? The recruitment of Nepali migrant workers in Kuwait and Qatar
Date & time: 28 July, 10am BST
With remittances making up almost a third of its GDP, Nepal is one of the largest remittance recipient countries in the world. High levels of poverty, unemployment, and natural disasters have led to nearly one in ten Nepalis seeking work abroad. The government used to set targets with a view to increasing the number of Nepalis travelling abroad, but the focus in the past decade has shifted somewhat towards retaining Nepalis, creating jobs in the country and more priority has been given to ensuring that those who migrate do so in a safe and dignified manner. However regulation of the influential recruitment industry, which maintains close relationships with political parties, is a major challenge, given the rampant abuse of migrant workers and the intense competition - between recruiters and with other origin states - for jobs in wealthy destination countries.
The Arab Gulf states are a major destination for Nepalis. In 2017/2018, the six GCC countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE) hosted 65% of all Nepali workers migrating to countries other than India. The GCC states have among the world’s highest GDP per capita, and receive hundreds of thousands of migrant workers each year, mainly from South Asia, to develop and service their economies. In both Qatar and Kuwait, migrants far outnumber nationals in the workforce. Nepalis choosing to migrate to Qatar and Kuwait usually work in low-paid jobs in construction, hospitality, retail, security and domestic work.
The abuse of Nepali and other migrant workers in the Gulf states, in both the recruitment and employment phases, has been well-documented for many years. This event, drawing on the findings of FairSquare's Five Corridors Project, will explore what steps the three governments of Nepal, Kuwait and Qatar are currently taking to protect workers throughout the migration cycle, and will ask what the key priorities should be for governments, employers, recruiters and others to deliver fair recruitment in reality.
- Anurag Devkota, Lapsoj
- Ann Abunda, Sandigan Kuwait
- James Lynch, FairSquare
- Kumud Khanal, EPAN
- Dr Ray Jureidini, Hamad bin Khalifa University
- Moderated by Rima Kalush, Migrant-Rights.org