General

Nepal and Malaysia set to end workers’ woes

Two governments due to sign a labour pact in September

- CHANDAN KUMAR MANDAL, Kathmandu

Nepal and Malaysia are close to striking a historic pact that is expected to streamline the overall process of hiring Nepali workers as well as ensuring their labour rights.

The two governments are currently reviewing the agreement’s draft and incorporating their respective concerns before the document is finalised. The agreement is due to be signed by the second week of September.  


It’s been 14 years since Malaysia first opened its doors to Nepali migrant workers and ever since the Southeast Asian country has become the most preferred job destination for young Nepalis.


But Nepal government has stopped its workers from going to Malaysia since May upon discovering that the recruitment agencies had been fleecing aspirant migrant workers.  


The ban imposed by the Nepal government on Malaysia-bound workers will be lifted after the pact is signed.
“We have reviewed the draft and made the suggestions that would favour Nepali migrant workers. Our major concerns regarding safety, rights and protecting them from any form of exploitation have been addressed,” Labour Minister Gokarna Bista said.


The draft of the agreement has proposed that Malaysia-bound workers will not have to pay any fees during visa processing to any agencies, and that the employing companies must bear all the expenses before workers reach Malaysia.


According to minister Bista, workers will be provided two-way air tickets and 24-hours insurance security as per the Malaysian law.


The hiring of Nepali workers is likely to continue through private recruitment agencies, one of the government-to-government (G2G) recruitment modalities in practice for foreign employment around the world.


In this modality, government oversees the overall sector, including the conduct and activities of recruiting agencies, whereas private recruiting agencies facilitate job placement aspects following the provisions mentioned in the bilateral agreement between both source and destination countries.


Nepal currently has adopted G2G modality, in which both countries manage the labour migration sector through a mechanism, with South Korea.


However, this modality suits with only those countries that receive a small number of workers, unlike Malaysia.
“For countries like Nepal which sends out large number of its workers, the G2G modality involving government to manage overall mechanism may not fit. The EPS Korea modality cannot be possible all the time,” said Purna
Chandra Bhattarai, who leads the draft recommendation task force.


The panel report has suggested that workers could be recurited by private agencies whose operations would be monitored by the government.

Published: 2018-08-30 08:17:26