Print Edition - 2014-10-28  |  Development

Foreign jobs: Vocation training goes a long way

- Roshan Sedhai
Foreign jobs: Vocation training goes a long way

Oct 27, 2014-

Every family in Beldiya, a tiny village in the eastern part of Chitwan National Park, has at least someone who works abroad. A predominantly Tharu village, Beldiya has witnessed a massive transformation in the past decade: concrete buildings have replaced the traditional reed-framed Tharu houses, the kids go to private boarding schools and families have access to better health and sanitation facilities. But nobody has reaped as much from foreign employment in the village as Thakur Chaudhary.

Chaudhary, who worked as a plumber in Qatar, has bought some land in his village, built a house in the district headquarters Bharatpur and has substantial savings in the bank. Chaudhary says he owes it all to his plumbing skills.

“If you are a semi-skilled or skilled worker you are treated better and generally earn more than those who lack such ways of making a living,” says Chaudhary. Chaudhary’s success and those of a few other youths in the village have encouraged many aspiring oversees job seekers to acquire similar skills too before heading off for foreign shores.

Chaudhary represents a growing subset among the 2.5 million Nepali migrants going to the Gulf and Malaysia who understand that acquiring at least basic training in some vocation pays dividends. Before they leave Nepal, they undergo training in plumbing, welding, masonry, carpentry, driving, electrical-wiring and so on.

The numbers are still not where they should be, but compared to how things were in the nineties, says Tek Bahadur Gurung, the State-Minister for Labour and Employment, when low-end labourers constituted around 90 percent of workers seeking jobs abroad, this growth is a welcome trend. A recent report by the Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE) shows that some 14 percent (30,8000) of the workers who went abroad in the last six years were skilled, 12 percent (26,4000) were semi-skilled and one percent (22,000) were highly skilled professionals like managers, chartered accountants, doctors and engineers.

But the data shows that 73 percent (1,606,000) of Nepalis who went abroad to work in the review period were still unskilled labourers.

“And that,” says Ganesh Gurung, a foreign employment expert, “is where the challenge lies. Making sure that we convert this segment into more employable workers.”

Foreign employment experts say unskilled Nepali labourers are more exploited than their Indian, Filipino, Bangladeshi and Pakistani counterparts, who send a greater proportion of their citizens to work better jobs. Employers, say the experts, view low-end labourers almost as disposable workers, as opposed to skilled workers.

“To increase the number of outbound skilled workers,” says Minister Gurung, “the government needs to get more involved in training our work force. But we face a resource crunch. Perhaps one solution would be to re-invest the money from the worker’s fund [the fees that the Nepali government collects from the outbound workers] to set up vocational-training schools.”

Each migrant worker contributes Rs 1,000 to the welfare fund for two years. The fund currently has Rs 2.14 billion, according to the Foreign Employment Promotion Board.

While most of that money still lies unused, the government has begun taking some baby steps towards training workers. “We have started to give skill-enhancing training to jobless youths in some pilot districts with the help of international partners,” says Minister Gurung, who also owns a recruiting agency.

“Furthermore,” says Minister Gurung, “training workers in skilled jobs, would not just ensure better livelihoods for our workers abroad, but, upon their return, their skills would be useful back home too.”

S.N        Nature of job    Min. wage in Qatar(food also)

1.           Waiter                                 1600

2.           Cook                                   1800

3.           Front Office Personnel    1900

4.           Foreman                            2200

5.          Heavy Driver                       1800

6.         Plumber                               1400

7.         Mansion                               1400

Source: Nepal’s mission in Qatar

Country         M.W for unskilled         M.W for semiskilled         M.W for skilled

Qatar                    1200  QR                      1400 QR                      1800 QR

Saudi Arabia       1000   SR                     1200 SR                       1500 QR  

Malaysia                900 Ringgit        

UAE                      1400   Dirham             1600 Dirham                1800 Dirham

 Bahrain                 100 B. Dinar                 120 B. Dinar                 150  B. Dinar

 Oman                    100 O. Dinar                 120 O. Dinar                 150 O. Dinar

Source: Ministry of Labour and Employment

Note: Its minimum wage scale set by Nepal government.

Published: 28-10-2014 08:52

Next Story

User's Feedback

Click here for your comments

Comment via Facebook

Don't have facebook account? Use this form to comment