Recruitment firms resist regulation on transparency

- Roshan Sedhai, Kathmandu

Feb 28, 2015-

Foreign employment agencies have disregarded the new provision that requires them to conduct all their financial transactions through banks.

Officials working at the frontline desk of the Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE) said none of the recruiting firms have complied to the new regulation introduced on January 16  to promote ethical and transparent recruitment practice as directed by the Parliamentary Committee on Labour and International Affairs.  

According to the sources, State Minister Tek Bahadur Gurung and DoFE Director General Bharat Subedi are backing the recruiting firm in their non-compliance. It is said that Gurung had no intention of enforcing the regulation and that he only approved the provision to avoid the wrath of the parliamentary committee.

“Recruiting agencies have been using the same handwritten bill that was in use earlier. There has not been any specific direction what action to take against the agencies for not using the banking channel,” a DoFE official told the Post.

On January 20, DoFE had issued an ultimatum urging the agencies to implement the provision by February 5.  

DoFE receives hundreds of fraud cases every month relating to financial exploitation of migrant workers from recruiting agencies, registered and unregistered agents. Over five hundreds cases involving fraud worth millions or rupee were registered last month alone.

Badri Karki, DoFE spokesperson, said that his office has not stepped back from the decision.

“The department is committed to bring this provision into effect. I don’t know why it has not come into implementation yet,” he said.

Recruiting agencies usually take their fees upfront while hundi and other informal channels are used to pay commissions to local agencies in work destinations.

 The government has set Rs 80,000 as maximum recruitment cost for Malaysia and Rs 70,000 for Gulf countries. However, a DoFE study shows that recruitment companies have been charging much higher rates, even when the visas and tickets are free.

 Officials at Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies (NAFEA) said the decision has been suspended following continuous lobby. Several NAFEA delegations had visited Gurung and Subedi to stop the new provision.

“We will continue to struggle against the decision,” said NAFEA Chairman Hansa Raj Wagle.

Nafea has demanded the government to increase the current service charge before bringing the new provision into effect.

 The International Affairs and Labour Committee of the Parliament on November had asked the government to bring all transaction of foreign recruitment agencies under proper banking channel. The committee has also launched investigation into financial irregularities prevalent in the foreign employment sector.

Published: 01-03-2015 08:46

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