Nepal’s new CG office in Jeddah to boost Saudi ties

Nepal Ambassador Udaya Raj Pandey, left, unveiling the plaque to mark the opening of the Nepal Consulate General’s office in Jeddah on Thursday. Acting Consul General Sudhir Bhattarai is seen next to him.

Nepal Ambassador Udaya Raj Pandey, left, unveiling the plaque to mark the opening of the Nepal Consulate General’s office in Jeddah on Thursday. Acting Consul General Sudhir Bhattarai is seen next to him.

Nepal opened its consulate general office in Jeddah to cater to its 125,000 countrymen in the Western Province.

Nepal Ambassador Udaya Raj Pandey inaugurated the new mission in the Mohammediya district in Jeddah on Thursday in the presence of a large number of Nepali expatriates. Sudhir Bhattarai is the new consul general.

Speaking to Arab News later, Pandey said this was a long-felt need of the Nepalese community 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.

Pandey said there are some 500,000 Nepali workers in Saudi Arabia and a sizable number is concentrated in the western part. He said the new consulate would ease pressure of the Riyadh Embassy in terms of workload. The new office, he said, will initially be manned by four officers but the number will increase as and when required depending on the nature and functions of the new mission.

This year, he announced, 985 Nepali pilgrims would come for Haj beginning Sept. 15. They will be accompanied by a support staff of medical and paramedical persons and administrative staff.

The ambassador said Katmandu does not allow housemaids to go abroad for employment. Yet, he observed, many Nepali women infiltrate into the Kingdom via countries like India and Kuwait. He blamed it on “unscrupulous” Indian agents for this illegal maids trafficking.

Pande said he had rescued more than 1,000 such illegal maids.

“When they are faced with a problem, they come to our embassy,” he lamented.

He said, “It is a big challenge that we are currently facing with these housemaids who are smuggled into Saudi Arabia through illegal channels.”

Giving details of the modus operandi of this illegal Nepali maid trafficking, Pande said 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. Nepalese do not require visas to go to India. Once inside Kingdom, these maids, he said, become victim of unscrupulous recruiting agents in the Kingdom who deploy them to various sponsors according to their whims.

The envoy urged his community members to comply with the local customs and conventions of Saudi society.

“Please don’t run away from your workplaces,” the ambassador advised the Nepalese male workers, requesting them to contact the missions in Jeddah and Riyadh for advice and guidance to resolve their problems.

Most of the labor problems generate due to misunderstanding between the employer and the employee, Pande said, adding that the embassy can negotiate such problems amicably looking after the interests of both the parties.

 
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