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Posted On: 26 January 2010 02:27 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:10 pm

‘Minimum wage’ clause fails to deter recruiters

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The demand for workforce from Nepal remained “steady” even after its Doha embassy effected a hike in the minimum salaries of unskilled workers from the New Year’s Day. Speaking to Gulf Times yesterday, Nepal’s Ambassador to Qatar Dr Suryanath Mishra said his embassy continues to receive new visa attestation requests for workers. “Representatives of at least one or two firms approach the embassy every day agreeing to the new conditions laid down by the mission on the minimum salaries of Nepalese workers,” said Dr Mishra. The ambassador said the employers these days were more realistic about the cost of living and hence most of those approached embassy had little problem in agreeing to the new minimum salaries fixed by the embassy in Doha. From January 1, the Nepal embassy made it clear that it would approve only those visa requests where the minimum salaries of the workers would be either QR800 or QR600, besides a food allowance of QR200. Earlier, unskilled workers from the Himalayan nation were recruited for an all inclusive salary of QR600. The diplomat said if the employers want to retain those who arrived here before January 1 after their two-year contract expires, the workers need to be paid the revised minimum salaries. “Otherwise, the companies would not be able to recruit workers from Nepal for their forthcoming projects in Qatar,” he said. The ambassador also said the embassy’s recent decision to affect a hike in minimum salaries was done in consultation with various workers groups and also after assessing the situation in countries of the region. The minimum salaries of Nepalese workers were increased in all other GCC states where there is a substantial workforce from Nepal, he said. Dr Mishra said unlike what it used to be until a year ago, a sizeable number of new recruits from his country were skilled workers and those coming for taking up jobs in sectors such as security, hospitality and likewise. Even though there is a marginal fall of late in the new arrivals in the construction industry, the country’s entrepreneurs have shown more interest in bringing Nepalese workers in other sectors, according to Dr Mishra. The ambassador felt the Nepalese population in the country was a little more than 300,000. “Our workers reached here in large numbers in 2007 and 2008,” he recalled.