‘Janajatis more prone to foreign job fraud’

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
‘Janajatis more prone to foreign job fraud’

Mar 9, 2015-

People from the hills, mostly Janajatis, are more prone to foreign employment fraud than those from other ethnic groups, according to a government-backed study on trends in overseas employment.

The study, which analysed 250 fraud complaints registered at the Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE) and Foreign Employment Tribunal, shows that people belonging to Brahmin, Chhetri and Madhesi communities are less vulnerable to foreign employment fraud and that 56 percent of the sampled victims never even reach their work destination.

The study was carried out jointly by the Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE) and the People’s Forum, an NGO working in the foreign employment sector.

The breakdown of data by ethnicity shows that 54 percent of the total victims were Janajatis, eight percent Dalits, two percent Madhesis and 21 percent from Brahmin and Chhetri communities. Since the report is based only on registered cases, it has not incorporated cases that go unreported. The study falls short to clarify whether the findings suggest people from Janajati background are actually ahead of those from other communities in filing fraud complaints.

They filled out the paper work, were promised jobs abroad and paid fees they were asked to, but were duped in the process of trying to get out of the country, the study has stated, revealing that 24 percent of the victims faced discrepancies related to the nature of job abroad and issues related to pay scale in the destination countries.

The study covers complaints registered by people from 65 districts seeking redress at the DoFE and the Tribunal.

Fraud cases have long been considered endemic in the foreign employment industry owing to poor monitoring by the state. And the report supports that pessimistic outlook. “The report shows that the marginalised and the socially backward classes seemingly fall prey most often to nefarious agents and others working in the foreign employment sector. Most cases we have come across show that this is indeed a trend,” said Som Luitel, chairman of the People’s Forum.

The report has also attempted to illuminate the problem by dissecting the registered complaints on the basis of gender and geography. The report shows 85 percent of the sampled victims were men; 60 percent of the victims were from the hills; 31 percent from Tarai and nine percent from mountain districts. The DoFE data also shows that half of Nepali migrant workers going abroad in the past six years were from the Tarai region.

Experts say that though Madhesi migrant workers are equally prone to fraud, they file fewer complaints. Luitel said this is because many of them do not have the wherewithal to register complaints and are also reluctant to take part in the lengthy process involved. According to the study, 61 percent of the victims were duped by organisations while the rest were fleeced by individual agents and contractors.

In the recent years, the government has been swamped with foreign employment-related fraud cases. The DoFE receives an average of 500 cases each month, though a large majority of workers do not lodge complaints or seek legal redress.

“The government lacks enough resources to take action against fraudulent agents and agencies at the grassroots level. There has been little progress made despite our relentless efforts,” said Buddhi Bahadur Khadka, Labour Ministry spokesperson. Hundreds of agencies and agents are illegally operating in the Capital and other cities due to poor monitoring mechanisms and weak laws. To make matters worse, the DoFE does not have any branch outside the Valley, even though most migrant workers come from villages.

Around 1,800 Nepali men and women leave the country each day for overseas jobs.

Published: 10-03-2015 08:48

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