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Nepal: Nepali embassy in Qatar repatriates workers lured to the country by fraudulent visa schemes and recruitment agents

The Nepal embassy in Qatar has received a significant number of migrant workers asking to be repatriated. The workers were lured Qatar with false promises of free movement between jobs and made to pay "hefty amounts" in recruitment fees. It is alleged that recruitment agencies, company employers and human resource officials colluded to promise workers employment through non-existent 'Aazad visas'. They were told these would allow them to find lucrative employment and receive no objection certificates (NOC) permitting them to change employer freely.

In one case 16 workers were made vulnerable to a range of labour abuses. They were promised a minimum monthly salary of Qatari riyal 1,200 to 1,400 but instead faced visa fees, 'hassle' from companies and HR officials, and were denied promised food and suitable accommodation on arrival in country.

Narendra Raj Gyanwali, labour attaché with the Nepal embassy, suggested that perpetrators are more likely to be small companies and agents within Nepal because "the Qatari government is strict about taking action against those who are found to have cheated migrant workers". The embassy also states that the number of Nepali workers being trapped by the free visa scheme has decreased after the Nepal government issued a directive making it mandatory for employers to have worker demand letters verified by embassies in destination countries.