Kathmandu: Nepal has barred women under 30 years of age from travelling to the Gulf countries for work following reports that they were subjected to harassment and sexual abuse.
"Young female workers are reported to have been sexually and psychologically exploited in Gulf countries," the minister for information and communication Raj Kishore Yadav said.
"So the cabinet decided to set age bar for women migrant workers going to the Gulf," Yadav was quoted by the Himalayan Times as saying.
According to a UN report, as many as 244,000 Nepalese women - mostly aged under 25 - are working in the Gulf, who leave the impoverished Himalayan nation every year to take up jobs as maids in the oil-rich region.
Though there have been widespread reports of maltreatment of women workers from Sri Lanka, Philippines and other Asian nations in the Gulf, Nepal is the only country to ban women under 30 from working in the Gulf.
The paper said, 15 Nepalese women had committed suicide in Lebanon in 2010, while some domestic helpers had sought refuge in their embassies in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait following instances of abuse by their employers.
Nepal had in 1998 imposed a ban on women seeking work in the Gulf. The restrictions were lifted 2010.