Govt works to double insurance, relief pays

  • migrant worker welfare
- Roshan Sedhai, Kathmandu

Feb 21, 2015-

The government is preparing to make at least twofold increment in insurance cover and welfare fund for Nepali migrants working abroad.

The move, expected to come into effect after amendment to the Foreign Employment Act, is aimed at providing better social security schemes to migrant workers, most importantly the families of those killed and injured in the work destination.

As per the plan, out-bound workers will have to buy an insurance scheme worth at least Rs1 million. They will have to deposit Rs2,000 to the government-managed Migrant Workers’ Welfare Fund. Families of deceased workers using documented channel will be entitled to compensation amount from the fund double of what they are currently getting.

The Ministry of Labour and Employment sees an urgent need for revision to the existing welfare schemes in order to provide better security to workers and their families. Ministry Secretary Bhola Prasad Shiwakoti said there is a pressing need to upgrade the security scheme given the risky and hazardous conditions endured by millions of Nepalis at workplaces abroad.

“Discussions are under way to increase both the welfare amount and life insurance cover. We are planning to raise the insurance amount to Rs1.5 million,” said Shiwakoti.

Migrant workers currently pay Rs2,130 in insurance premium for the Gulf countries and Rs2,700 for Malaysia. Families of the deceased workers get up to Rs550,000, while injured workers get varying sums depending on the severity of the injury.

The Foreign Employment Promotion Board started providing Rs300,000 to families of the deceased a few months ago following the government’s decision to double the amount. Injured workers get up to Rs300,000 in reimbursement.

Stakeholders including rights groups say that much of what comes from security schemes is spent on travel and accommodation as the process to claim the amount is lengthy. Officials said they have been consulting with other stakeholders including insurance companies to revise the scheme. “There has been positive response from everyone we have talked to so far. Consultations are ongoing,” said an official.

“We’re trying to make foreign employment more pragmatic in every respect. There will be legal provision to make the industry safer, organised and decent,” said Buddhi Bahadur Khadka, ministry spokesman.

Published: 22-02-2015 07:06

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