Qatar, Asia-Pacific, Nepal, Business, Human Rights, Politics

Qatar’s Diplomatic Crisis and Its Effect on Migrant Workers

Nepal ranks third among the countries that are heavily dependent on remittance. The flow of foreign money accounts for 29.6 percent of the country’s 21.2 billion dollar GDP. The near-quarter GDP comes from more than 3.5 million workforce that serves in various corners of the globe, notably the Gulf Nations.

Out of the 1 million Nepalese working in Gulf Nations, 400,000 are documented to be working on the State of Qatar only. The FIFA 2022 hosting country is the second most favoured place of foreign employment for Nepali migrant workers. Following the accusations on Qatar of “funding terrorism”, major Gulf Nations of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Iraq and African Nation Egypt has imposed a total economic blockade to Qatar. Special considerations on the lives of migrant workers need to be taken following the embargo on Qatar.

The diplomatic rift between Qatar and other Arab Countries will have a significant impact on the lives of migrant workers. Being an entirely import-dependent state for foodstuffs and daily necessities, Qatar will be hit hard by its diplomatic rift with the Arab Nations. The major trade routes of Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain have been blocked. Privileged Qataris are stocking up on foodstuffs leaving petite to the migrant workers. The labourers, who live a lesser privileged life, will have to face difficult circumstances as the cost of necessities rise.

Furthermore, the fate of migrant workers Qatar outsources to other countries of the Gulf has also to be taken into consideration. These Qatari companies will presently not be allowed to operate in the other Gulf States, and it will impact the lives of outsourced labours until the diplomatic crisis sorts out. Gulf Nations already have a giant problem of abuse of labour rights. Qatar’s fractured relationship with the Gulf countries might make the situation even worse.

The Stagnated Relation, and its effect on Nepalese

Since the news of Qatar’s isolation spread in the media, Nepalese have been seriously reconsidering their plans to enter the country for employment. While 700-800 work permits were issued daily by Nepal’s Department of Foreign Employment for Qatar, before the diplomatic crisis, the number has fallen sharply to around 500 and has even gone as low as 260.

Following Qatar’s diplomatic crisis, the Government of Nepal needs to be in its best position to help the 400,000+ Nepalese employed there. It also needs to ensure that regulations are met before issuing work permits for employment, with the special focus on those planning to work for outsourcing companies. The Nepali Embassy in Qatar should be resourceful to assure the safety of the half million Nepalese working there.

Maybe it would be beneficial for everyone to stop VISA issuance to Qatar until the diplomatic crisis is sorted out. With many jobs slashed in the transportation sector, the same will follow in other areas too. As long as the diplomatic crisis remains in effect, there are high chances of other people going jobless. In such scenario, sending hundreds more for newer employment opportunities will be a foolishness and only worsen the situation.

Qatar’s diplomatic crisis with the Gulf Nations will impact the whole world, especially the third world countries that are heavily dependent on remittance. The life of millions of people will be in danger as the condition worsens. The abuse of human and labour rights will be even severe as the embargo remains.

About Kanchan Sharma

Kanchan is a blogger as well as a CrowdH citizen journalist from Nepal. He's 19 years old and loves to travel, read and write.

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