Hire lawyers in labour receiving nations, govt told

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Oct 22, 2014-

The Parliamentary Committee on Labour and International Relations has advised the government to hire lawyers in each international labour destination to help the migrant workers with legal issues they come across. Delay in repatriation of bodies from labour destinations, which has been a major problem faced by the families of deceased Nepalis, is expected to be addressed if the government appoints its legal representatives labour destinations, the committee has said.

Records at the Nepali missions in the Gulf and Malaysia show there are still 50 bodies of Nepali migrants awaiting repatriation. It takes at least a month to bring back the bodies back because of lengthy legal process. In case of undocumented deceased workers, it could take years for their families to receive the bodies.

The committee’s leader and UCPN (Maoist) lawmaker, Prabhu Sah, said using local attorney is the only way to bring the bodies back home without much delay. For that, he said, the government should first find out how many bodies of deceased migrants are languishing in labour destinations and assess the legal provision involved in their repatriation.

It is especially challenging to bring back the bodies from the Gulf countries, as their laws under the Kafala System seek mandatory permission of the employer before a migrant could leave the country. Kafala, a which has been criticised by rights group as neo-slavery system, ties the lives of migrant workers to their local sponsors throughout their work tenure by restricting their mobility. The employer must issue a no-objection certificate before the workers could resign and leave the country. The same rule applies when sending the bodies of dead migrant workers back to their home country.

Foreign employment experts in the recommendation panel of the committee claimed that the Nepali embassies in labour destinations are taking inordinate amount of time to send the bodies of deceased workers back home, owing to the officials’ lack of knowledge about local law, language and culture. They said that the government can appoint local legal representatives on a case-basis contract. Increasing the number of local staff in embassies has also been recommended.

Published: 23-10-2014 08:59

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