‘Decision to regulate labour outflow not well-thought-out plan’

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
‘Decision to regulate labour outflow not well-thought-out plan’

Jun 16, 2015-

The government decision to send Nepali labourers to six countries in the Gulf and Malaysia by paying a maximum fee of Rs 17,000, though well-intentioned, has many flaws, stakeholders have said.

They have pointed out that due to the lack of clear law, monitoring mechanism and consultation with the labour receiving governments and recruiting agencies in Nepal, the decision is unlikely to come into effect anytime soon.

 Aspiring overseas workers have been paying recruitment fee equalling their annual salary to go to Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, UAE and Kuwait for employment. The decision of Ministry of Labour and Employment, if strictly enforced from next week as announced, can help prevent economic exploitation of around 1,500 Nepali migrants every day.

The government has also announced a high-level committee to monitor the decision, but without clear terms of reference. Many similar mechanisms had failed to produce desired results in the past. “What difference will a small committee with limited rights makes when the laws remain same and the transaction take place privately between the recruiting agencies and the agents? an official at the Department of Foreign Employment said.

Representatives from the recruiting agencies also doubt that the government plan will work without cooperation of the labour receiving countries. They said that sending workers without charging for visa and ticket can be possible only if the local agencies in the labour destinations stop demanding commission.

“Except for a few government-owned and big private firms, most of the companies or agents even in Qatar and Bahrain do not provide free visa and ticket as claimed by their officials,” said Kumud Khanal, who operates a recruiting agency.

Recruiting agencies in Nepal have been protesting the decision, claiming that it is a scheme aimed at generating profit for State Minister of Labour and Employment Tek Bahadur Gurung, few senior officials and big recruiting agencies.

Gurung, however, said that the decision was taken in favour of the workers. He also claimed that he had discussed about the matter with all stakeholders before reaching the decision.

“We will gradually inform about the decision to the labour receiving governments through diplomatic channel,” said Gurung.

Some government officials say the decision could help regulate the outflow of workers at a time when there is a scarcity of workforce in the country to rebuild the areas devastated by the April 25 earthquake.

Published: 17-06-2015 08:09

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