Workers flay govt-Nafea deal

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Workers flay govt-Nafea deal

Jul 27, 2015-

Nepalis at home and aboard have raised questions over government’s intention after it signed an agreement with recruiting agencies, arguing that the pact will make it difficult to enforce the newly introduced free-visa-free-ticket rule. 

In the 25-point deal signed with the Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies (Nafea) on Saturday, the government has agreed to form a probe panel to review free-visa-free-ticket rule in three months. The pact has, however, denied free visa and ticket to 92,000 migrants who had been recruited before July 8 as per the old provision. 

Many workers have since taken to various social media sites to express their dissatisfaction at the agreement which, according to them, would serve as a leverage for the recruiting agencies to keep on cheating prospective migrant workers.  

“Recruiting agencies and agents are still charging exorbitant sums from people. A friend of mine paid Rs 75,000 to Mother Overseas just yesterday. The government itself should collect the fee and punish the fraud,” Prashant Kumar Raut wrote on his Facebook wall on Monday. Social networking sites have been flooded with similar comments from many aspirant migrants and relatives, complaining about exorbitant fees being charged by the recruiting agencies even after the new rule. 

Government sources said the ministry is not in a position to punish such agencies due to the new agreement. 

“We have information that many agencies are charging exorbitant fee but we cannot do anything as the new agreement exempted them to charge as per the old provision,” said an official. Hundreds of people have lodged complaints against dozens of recruiting agencies for charging disproportionately. Pathivara manpower, the recruiting agency owned by Hamsa Raj Wagle, have allegedly charged up to Rs90,000 from those aspiring go to Malaysia for overseas jobs despite the employing company footing costs for labourers’ visas and air tickets. Laxman Bhujel has suggested the government to operate a toll-free number for workers to lodge complaints. “The government should scrap the licence of the rule-flaunting agencies and punish operators engaged in fraudulent activities,” said Bhujel. 

Officials at the Department of Foreign Employment said Saturday’s agreement has made the monitoring and punishment more challenging. “How can you expect us to punish new recruiting agencies while the agreement has exempted even those agencies facing charges? It’s clear that the ministry is trying to confine the agreement to paperwork and formality,” said a DoFE official. 

As per the new provision, employers in Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait will have to provide visa and ticket themselves to hire Nepali workers. Migrants will have to pay a maximum of Rs 18,000. 

Published: 28-07-2015 08:43

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