I did not get to go. Am I better off here without that job? Surely not. I am earning a tenth of the salary I could have earned in the Qatar Police. In fact, by now I would have already paid back the loans I would have taken to pay the recruitment costs, and started saving.
Have you ever wondered why those of us who made it through the process are not out in the streets protesting about the high costs we were being demanded, or how devastated we were when the job order got canceled even after all our paperwork was complete?
Because deep inside, we are still hopeful that it will work out. We have not given up the hope that the visas will come. This hope got further strengthened when we heard that Nepal’s new Labour Minister went to Qatar. Perhaps this deadlock will be addressed.
I know a few fellow aspirants who have paid the recruitment company a fee for the jobs that never materialised. Asking for all of it back makes them fear that they will lose the offer if it ever does come.
Leaving a small portion of the money as a security deposit gives them an assurance, perhaps a false one, that they will be in the priority list if the job offer is ever revived.
Sometimes, I feel cheated by the state when I think about all that happened. Politicians at the highest level are not just failing in their duty as protectors of us citizens, they are snatching away even the few opportunities from us. Just so they can fulfill their own greed.
They are not fixing the high recruitment cost problem, but trying to benefit from it. Or the Qatari authorities who were allegedly trying to get a cut too. The amount of profit that they lost because of the job cancellation, and because people like me could not go, did not make even the slightest dent in their wealth, but imagine how much we lost.
The job orders got cancelled. It was not the cost that got canceled, but the job itself. And who lost? We did. Not those in power. Not the manpower companies. Not Qataris. Just us, who were willing to work hard and do everything it took to improve our lives.
Many of us who go through the interviews were former police and army folks.
When the recruiters asked for payment in exchange for jobs, we were being cheated. We know that. We are not naive, we weighed our options. Against all odds stacked against us – our poverty, low salaries that make living in Kathmandu challenging — we decided to take the risk. The Rs1 million that the manpower agent, who represented all the powers that be, asked for the job seemed like our only way out.
I agreed to pay what was demanded. Only a fool would be willing to pay, if not paying was also an option. I know I deserved the job. The Qataris were impressed with my credentials. The fee I was paying was not to buy myself into a job that I was unqualified for, but simply to get a foothold for an interview to prove my worth.
I still have hopes of joining the Qatar Police. I hope it will be under fairer circumstances in which we are not demanded exorbitant recruitment costs, and the process is transparent.
Translated from a conversation in Nepali.
Diaspora Diaries is a regular column in Nepali Times providing a platform for Nepalis to share their experiences of living, working, studying abroad. Authentic and original entries can be sent to [email protected] with ‘Diaspora Diaries’ in the subject line.