KATHMANDU, Feb 22: In view of the increasing flow of migrant Nepali workers to Bahrain and Oman, the government on Thursday decided to establish residential embassies in the two Gulf countries.
A cabinet meeting held at Singha Durbar also decided to establish Consul Office in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and Consul General Office in Guangzhou, China.
Officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said the cabinet meeting, however, turned down the ministry´s proposal to set up embassy in Spain. “We had forwarded a proposal to establish embassies in Bahrain, Oman and Spain. But the proposal to establish embassy in Spain was turned down,” said an official.
Officials said under-secretary level officer will head the proposed missions in Oman and Bahrain for the time being as acting ambassador. “The cabinet has given its nod to establish the missions. We are yet to work out the details of the cost for setting up the missions,” MoFA officials said.
While the government plans to send one of the two under secretaries currently serving in Riyadh to head the Consul Office in Jeddah, Joint Secretary level officer from non-diplomatic service will head Consul General Office in Guangzhou.
Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies (NAFEA) has welcomed the government´s move to establish residential missions in the two Gulf nations. “This is a welcome decision of the government. Since Nepalese workers get almost double remuneration of what they normally get in other Gulf countries, the government should also immediately take initiatives to establish embassies in Iraq and Libya,” NAFEA Chairman Bal Bahadur Tamang told Republica.
With Thursday´s government decision, the number of Nepalese embassies abroad has reached 31 and Consul General Offices to four. The decision to establish embassy in Oman and Bahrain comes in line with the policy of MoFA to set up residential missions where there are more than 5,000 Nepalese migrant workers.
MoFA had long been making efforts to establish residential missions in Bahrain, Oman and Spain as growing number of Nepali migrant workers in these countries had made non-resident embassies accreditated to these countries difficult to handle the problems faced by Nepalese migrant workers. Nepalese embassy in Qatar and Saudi Arabia are currently accreditated to Bahrain and Oman, respectively.
Officials said Nepalese started visiting Bahrain and Oman for employment since 1994. According to the figures provided by the Department of Foreign Employment (DOFE), altogether 33,076 Nepalese have reached Bahrain and 17,083 others to Oman so far through official channels.
NAFEA, however, said the actual number of Nepalese workers in Bahrain and Oman has already reached 40,000 and 25,000, respectively. “A large number of Nepalese workers have reached Oman and Bahrain through clandestine ways. The Department of Immigration does not have data of those visiting the countries illegally,” he said.
Meanwhile, the cabinet meeting also decided to establish diplomatic relations with Uzbekistan and Samoa. With this, the number of countries that have diplomatic relations with Nepal has reached 138.