Sarita Pahari from Surkhet met a devastating end three weeks ago near Dubai, UAE, taking her own life.
Sarita had arrived in Dubai on a two-month visit visa, enticed by the promise of lucrative job opportunities by a broker for Rs 250,000. However, Sarita found herself in dire straits when she lost contact with the broker upon reaching the UAE. She struggled for two months, surviving with the support of other Nepali immigrants. Hoping to find job, she extended her visit visa by a month with the assistance of friends. Unfortunately, with just 15 days left on her extended visa, she tragically chose to end her own life.
According to the labor counselor at the Nepali Embassy in the UAE, Din Bandhu Subedi, the visit visa played a significant role in Sarita’s tragic death. According to Pahari’s relatives, Sarita was facing mental pressure, and feeling desperate after she was unable to find a job despite being in UAE for so long, ultimately succumbed to despair.
This incident reflects a larger issue faced by many Nepali youth seeking employment opportunities in the UAE. The exploitation by brokers and false promises contribute to the vulnerability of Nepali workers. Tragically, this is not an isolated case, as similar stories of exploitation and hardship have been reported.
A few months ago, Madhumaiya Magar, who arrived in the UAE from Nepal on a visit visa, was tragically murdered, as reported by the Nepali Embassy.
Jayendra Shah of Kanchanpur, arriving in the UAE on a visit visa three months ago after paying Rs 300,000 to a broker, found himself stranded in Abu Dhabi when the broker vanished. Despite eventually securing another job through a different broker, he now works illegally for low wages due to the absence of a work visa. Similarly, two girls from Sarlahi and Gulmi, who arrived on visit visas through a broker, were held captive in a local’s house. After escaping, they managed to contact the Nepali embassy for assistance.
According to Tej Bahadur Chhetri, the labor counselor at the Nepali Embassy in the UAE, the number of Nepali workers visiting the UAE on visit visas has increased significantly. In 2022 alone, 250,000 Nepali workers arrived in the UAE on visit visas, seeking employment opportunities. Unfortunately, many of them end up facing challenges such as illegal work, low wages, and exposure to criminal activities, Chhetri added.
Chhetri underscored the plight of Nepali women trafficked to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, and Bahrain when arriving on visit visas.
Unlike work visas where companies bear responsibility for migrant workers’ well-being, those on visit visas are left to navigate the life on a foreign soil and survive.