Nepalese workers abroad fired en masse because of economic crisis
by Kalpit Parajuli
The Gulf countries and Malaysia are closing their borders to foreign workers. Many companies are sending their foreign labor force back home. The finances of the Kathmandu government are also at risk, relying on remittances from emigrants for 40% of its income.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - At least 150,000 Nepalese workers are victim of the economic recession that is affecting many Asian countries. Many industries in the Gulf countries in Malaysia are confronting the problem by firing foreign workers, while their governments are revoking work visas already granted.

The government of Kuala Lumpur had already withdrawn all of its visas for Nepalese workers. It was only after talks with the government of Kathmandu that Malaysia agreed to honor the visas already granted, but will not issue any more, because of the "economic depression."

Shreeram Chaudhari, from the district of Bara, went to Malaysia two months ago but has had to return. "I was working at a garment factory when company closed down I am sent back. I lost my job, dream to earn money as well as some amount I invested for going there."

The United Arab Emirates have also decided to cut their foreign workforce by at least 45%, sending tens of thousands of Nepalese back home. Many airplanes are arriving in Kathmandu full of workers coming back from the Gulf. Ramkrishna Mainali, Originally from Jhapa, tells AsiaNews: "The global economic depression has caused heavy impact at my company in Qatar, as a result company cut workers by 30 percent workers, and I was also a victim among them. All the expelled workers are given just a little compensation, and a ticket back home."

The Nepalese Workers Associations is pressuring the government of Kathmandu to do something. "If the government remains indifferent," says Tilak Ranabhat, president of the group, "the country which is depending on foreign remittance by more than 40 percent will go bankrupt."

Government spokesman Krishna Bahadur Mahara has provided assurances that Kathmandu is in contact with the relevant state authorities, to ask them to reconsider the decision to send back Nepalese workers.

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