Feb 12, 2020
What can be done about the death rates attributed to migrant workers abroad?
Migrant deaths have skyrocketed over the past decade across the Middle East and Asia. To reduce these tragic numbers, millions of Nepalis who work abroad will be subject to mandatory safety training before they leave their home country.
Out of the 4 million Nepali migrants who work abroad die from safety accidents each year in safety accidents in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Malaysia. These migrants typically work in positions such as the booming construction industry and domestic work such as housekeeping, nannying, etc. The money these Napali migrant workers earn and send back to their home country makes up for 25% of the entire Gross Domestic Product of Nepal.
Labor Ministry leaders are concerned about the rate of deaths of migrant workers and have been working together to find a new level of safety leadership to combat this.
For example, Nepali migrant workers at a construction zone in Doha, Qatar suffered abuses of their human rights while working on a World Cup Stadium. The conditions were unsafe, the safety training was lacking, and the prevailing attitudes were that the workers were considered disposable. In response, World Cup organizers drafted worker welfare standards to combat the safety problem.
Safety training has becomes engrained in the onboarding of these new workers along with health tips on how to live abroad.
Even still, three coffins containing the bodies of migrants who have died arrive in Nepal's airport in Kathmandu. 97% of these worker deaths occurred in areas such as the Gulf and Malaysia. Temperatures can skyrocket to 120 degrees to create unsafe working conditions around the machinery. Deaths are often reported as "heart attacks" without an accurate post-mortem on the actual cause of death.
While bereaved families may receive compensation from the Government of these countries, the process is not transparent and free from exploitation. It's time to do better by the safety of migrant workers everywhere.
KATHMANDU: In a bid to reduce migrant deaths in the Middle East and Asia, millions of Nepalis who work overseas will be given mandatory safety training before departure, officials said on Tuesday.
About 1,000 out of an estimated 4 million Nepali migrants die abroad each year, mainly in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Malaysia where most work as domestics and in construction. Migrant remittances makes up a quarter of impoverished Nepal’s GDP.
“The government is very much concerned about the rate of deaths of its migrant workers and is serious about reducing this,” Suman Ghimire, a spokesman for the labour ministry, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
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