Officials put through wringer over VLN Nepal

  • malaysia visa processing
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Feb 23, 2016-

The International Relation and Labour Committee of Parliament has grilled government officials for failing to implement its order issued two years ago to scrap the licence of Malaysian agent VLN Nepal for not abiding by the Nepal’s Company Registration Law.

The agent has also been found charging exorbitant fees for visa processing from aspiring Nepali migrant workers despite the committee’s order. 

In September 2013, the Malaysian Embassy in Kathmandu outsourced visa processing duty to a sub-agent of the Malaysian firm, hiking the service charge by more than fivefold.  VLN Nepal has been charging Rs3,900 from each applicant since. But they applicants are given a receipt for only Rs 700--the fee that was in place before the job was outsourced.

Prabhu Sah, committee chairman, had even directed concerned bodies to scrap the licence and suspend daily works of VLN Nepal till further decisions could be taken on the legality of its activities.  

Two and half years on, VLN Nepal is still providing the service, while concerned bodies are struggling to determine whether its activities tantamount to violation of law. Government officials, however, blamed legal hurdles and demanded change in laws to initiate concrete actions.   

Members of the IRLC claim the work of VLN Nepal “illegal”. In a recent conversation with the Post, Sah had argued that VLN Nepal was collecting money against the law, issuing a receipt only for a portion of the total fee it charges from the applicant. 

The government officials blame legal ambiguities and non-cooperation from other stakeholders for the delay. Terming it a diplomatic matter, officials at the Ministry of Labour and Employment said it should be resolved through a diplomatic channel. MoFA officials, however, said that they could do little to change the decision as it was the Malaysian government’s decision. The matter was raised at the time of Malaysian Home Minister visit to Kathmandu, but Malaysia has not responsed yet, according to them.   

Representatives of Malaysia VLN Nepal said that they had been unnecessarily targeted. They maintain Malaysia VLN is just a local firm working on behalf of Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd, a software company accredited by the Malaysian government, to provide visa processing services also in other countries, including China, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

A MoLE official has dismissed committee’s direction as a “publicity stunt”, saying that its members had done little despite their vehement requests to change the law. “We know that many parliamentarians and other senior officials are acting on interest of Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd following their visit to Malaysia last year,” said the official. Around a dozen public officials, including Sah had visited Malaysia last year. 

Published: 23-02-2016 08:19

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