Nafea to protest free visa, ticket provision

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Jun 27, 2015-

The Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies (Nafea) has announced a protest against the government’s decision to provide free visa and free air ticket to the workers visiting the Gulf countries and Malaysia.

The decision, which was taken in an effort to prevent economic exploitation of workers in the name of recruitment fees, will come into effect from July 6. To prevent the government from implementing the provision, Nafea has decided to picket and disrupt the service at the Department of Foreign Employment on Monday.

Nafea representatives have warned of resorting to extreme measures if the decision is not immediately withdrawn. They have claimed that the provision was introduced to handover the control of foreign employment business to few powerful people.

“There have been deliberate efforts from some powerful people to take over the entire foreign employment business displacing smaller agencies. The recruiting agencies will stand against the decision,” said Bimal Dhakal, one of the three contenders for Nafea’s top post in the association’s election slated for July 2.

Meanwhile, to win the support of the recruiting agencies, other two contenders— Kiran Kishore Ghimire and Saroj Pokharel—have announced separate protest plans.

According to the new provision, aspiring migrant workers will have to pay just for health check-ups, orientation training and migrant worker’s welfare fund. They may have to pay a maximum of Rs 10,000 as service charge if the employer is not providing the service charge to the recruiting agency. Only migrants going to Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait will benefit from the provision.

Currently, over 80 percent migrants have been paying at least Rs 80,000 to recruiting agencies to send migrants aboard. Recruiting agencies have argued that the decision was “immature” as the government did not consult the labour receiving governments. They said that most of the amount taken from migrants goes to accredited agents of labour receiving agencies and grassroots agents working in Nepal.

State Minister for Labour and Employment Tek Bahadur Gurung said that most of the countries including Qatar and Bahrain have been providing air tickets and visa to workers.

“We have been informing other governments about the provision through diplomatic channel. We didn’t inform them earlier because we had not officially scrapped the provision to take recruitment charge from the existing act,” he said.

 

Published: 28-06-2015 07:43

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