01/05/2024, 16.43
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From the Himalayas to the frontlines: Nepal suspends visas for Russia and Ukraine

Officially emigrating for work, Nepalis have been recruited into the Russian army to fight. At least 10 Nepalis have already fallen in Russian regiments. For migrants, the promise of Russian citizenship is an incentive to join up. The Nepali government has decided to block permits and is asking Russia to repatriate its citizens sent to war.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Nepal has stopped issuing permits to its citizens to work in Russia and Ukraine until further notice, following the death of at least 10 Nepalis killed while serving in the Russian army.

Nepal has also formally asked Russia not to recruit its citizens into the Russian army, to immediately send all Nepali soldiers back home, and to compensate the families of the fallen.

According to Nepali government estimates, up to 200 Nepalis might be in the Russian army, while about 100 Nepalis are missing.

Moscow offers Russian citizenship to foreigners who agree to fight in Ukraine, a major incentive in Nepal, a country where Gurkhas have served in the British and Indian armies after independence in 1947.

Millions of Nepali nationals are employed in civilian jobs abroad, mainly as labourers in industries and construction sites in South Korea, Malaysia, and the Middle East.

Nepali Migrants must receive permission from their government to work abroad, which entitles them to state support in the event of an emergency or compensation to families in case of death.

Reuters has reported that more than 800 Nepalis have been issued work permits for non-military activities in Russia over the past two years. No data are available for Ukraine.

Nepali police last month arrested 10 people on suspicion of sending unemployed young people to Russia for illegal recruitment into the army after charging them large sums of money for travel visas.

The government decided to temporarily halt work permits for Russia and Ukraine to minimise the loss of life and this will remain in place until further orders, said Kabiraj Upreti, director at the Department of Foreign Employment.

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