Nepali migrant workers hit by Gulf countries’ vaccine norms
London — Major labor destination countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates are tightening their respective norms for the entry of foreign workforces, putting the jobs of thousands of workers, who are yet to receive their vaccines, at risk.
Nepal earns a significant dollar income from remittances it receives from its overseas workers. However, like other industries, the labor market has also been greatly affected by the pandemic. Over, 20,000 migrant workers in Nepal are still waiting to get to their work destinations.
Like many other countries, vaccines in Nepal are in short supply.
“It seems all these labor destination countries will soon make Covid-19 vaccines mandatory for outsiders, impacting Nepali migrants,” said Sujit Kumar Shrestha, the general secretary of the Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies (NAFEA), was quoted as saying by The Kathmandu Post.
According to the decision, 1 August onwards, only foreigners vaccinated with Oxford-AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson doses and with valid residence permits will be allowed to enter Kuwait.
Saudi Arabia, the biggest employer of Nepali workers, hasn’t yet imposed the mandatory vaccination condition on arrival. However, experts say it might impose such restrictions soon. Currently, Nepali workers going to Saudi Arabia are required to go into 14-day quarantine in hotels upon their arrival.
Nepal is already struggling to procure vaccines. It is still discussing a deal with China for Sinopharm vaccines.
Furthermore, the domestic job market is yet to recover from the Covid shock. The month-long lockdown recently further worsened the condition in the country. – IBNS