Labour Ministry told to profile manpower firms

- Roshan Sedhai, Kathmandu

Nov 11, 2014-

In an attempt to control the incidents of fraud in the foreign employment industry, the International Affairs and Labour Committee (IALC) has directed the Labour Ministry to provide profiles of all foreign employment agencies in the country.

As per the direction, the Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE) will have to provide the details, including their bank accounts, legal status, work volume, organisational structure, and background and track record of their owners, the committee members said.

“The root of problem lies in manpower agencies. Exploitation and abuse of poor migrant is going to persist until the government flush out the fraudulent people from the industry,” Prabhu Shah, chairman of the committee told the Post. The investigation into the profiles of recruiting agencies is also expected to help the government understand the gravity of problem before formulating realistic policies and regulations.

This is the first effort from any government bodies to investigate into the recruitment agencies.

Members of the parliamentary committee believe that better scrutiny on recruiting agencies could be helpful in eliminating fraudulent agencies and promoting ethical and accountable recruitment culture.

Labour Secretary Bhola Prasad Siwakoti said the concerned department has provided brief profile of the recruitment companies. “We will provide other information once we receive the written question of the committee,” he said.

Recruitment agencies are found to have engaged in a range of malpractices from charging exorbitant fee from migrant workers without providing receipts, handing double contract letters to comply with minimum wage standard fixed by government to acquire work permit to human trafficking. Many workers land in foreign labour destinations only to find that they have been duped, or worse trafficked as cheap labour by their agencies.

There are hundreds of people in the country who are operating manpower agencies without the government permit.

Although the DoFE has received complaints against almost all these agencies, only some of them have been charged and fewer have actually been prosecuted. Ministry officials say the offenders are usually using political protection and bribery to avoid prosecution.

Meanwhile, the Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies has threatened to launch a protest, claiming that the government was trying to undermine their professional integrity.

“This is another example of how the government is repeatedly coming up with wrong solutions. The government system and legal policies itself is the source of all problem,” said Bal Bahadur Tamang, the owner of Sky Overseas, a Kathmandu-based foreign employment recruiting agency.

Published: 12-11-2014 09:31

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