Recruitment fees through banking channel only: Panel

  • Regulating manpower agencies
- Post Report, KATHMANDU

Nov 10, 2014-

The International Affairs and Labour Committee of the Parliament on Sunday directed foreign employment agencies to compulsorily use banking channel while receiving fees from migrant workers.

The panel also asked stakeholders, including the Ministry of Labour and Employment, the Department of Foreign Employment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to ensure that recruitment agencies use banking channel to collect recruitment fees as well as to pay their overseas partners. Most agencies in the country pay fees to their overseas partner through informal channel.

Parbhu Shah, chairman of the committee, said they also asked the stakeholders to encourage migrant workers to use banks or other formal channels to send money home. Currently, around 50 percent of the total remittance is expected to enter the country through informal channels. “Our main concern is to ensure migrant friendly recruitment process. There should be an immediate end to the exploitation and abuse of workers inside and outside the country,” Shah said.

Officials at the Department of Foreign Employment say many agents give receipt of Rs 20,000 to aspirant workers though the latter are charged over Rs 80,000 even when both visa and ticket are free.

Meanwhile, the panel also directed the department to probe fraud cases lodged by victimised workers. The committee said sluggish investigation has not only denied justice to workers but also discouraged many new victims from filing similar complaints. The committee said only 45 of around 2,500 migrant workers, who filed the fraud cases, have been compensated. It also directed the department to regularly submit the progress reports on fraud cases. Likewise, the panel also asked the department to submit the details of manpower agencies, their local agents and profile of staffers, among others. “They will be punished if we find any irregularities in the system. We suspect that there is a huge irregularity within the employment agencies,” a committee member said.

The committee also reminded the concerned bodies to promptly bring workers’ bodies from the Gulf countries and trace the whereabouts of imprisoned and missing workers. Thousands of workers are said to be imprisoned abroad.

Meanwhile, a taskforce of the Parliamentary Social Justice and Human Rights Committee issued a notice on Sunday asking local authorities and district labour offices to register complaints on violation of migrant workers’ rights. The complaints can be also lodged at the panel’s central office in Singha Durbar.

Asian MPs stress on stronger cooperation

The Asian Inter-Parliamentary Caucus on Labour Migration has stressed on the need of stronger cooperation among labour sending countries for protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers.

Talking to media persons at the concluding session of caucus’s two-day annual assembly on Sunday, cross-country parliamentarians said the South Asian countries should adopt collective bargaining to press the labour receiving countries to end exploitation and abuse of its some 36 million migrant workers.

In a press statement, the parliamentarians urged governments of Saarc member countries to work together for ensuring safety, security and rights of migrant workers, while jointly combating human trafficking and other anomalies surrounding the foreign employment industry. The lawmakers representing Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Myanmar, the Philippines and Pakistan also called for establishing a regional mechanism to govern labour migration, combat trafficking, regulate recruitment industry and empower missions in the labour destinations.

Similarly, the caucus also emphasized on the need of standardised contract for migrants working in domestic sector and enhancing transparency of bilateral labour pacts. The caucus has urged the Asean Economic Community to make the labour migration and protection its top agenda.

Published: 10-11-2014 08:08

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