Minister says recruiting firms fleecing workers

  • Foreign employment
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jul 4, 2016-

Minister for Labour Deepak Bohara has said the recruiting agencies are charging unfairly high sums in recruitment fees from Nepali migrants going to Malaysia against the free-visa-free-ticket scheme—a low cost recruitment policy that the government introduced last year.

Speaking at a press conference organised to share the experience of his four-day Malaysia visit on Sunday, Bohara said that he failed to meet any worker who had benefited from the free visa and free ticket policy. 

“Most of the Nepali migrants I met during my visit had paid at least 50 to 60 thousand rupees. Many others were paying much higher,” said Bohara. 

But he refused to divulge details about the workers who had paid exorbitant amounts to go abroad for work. 

Bohara said that the government was committed to implement the free-visa-free-ticket policy taking all stakeholders, including the recruiting agencies, into confidence. The scheme that came into effect on July 8, 2015 allows the recruiting agencies to charge a maximum of Rs10,000 for their services. The scheme makes it binding for employers of seven labour receiving countries—Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman—to provide free air ticket and visa.

He also hinted that the Ministry of Labour and Employment was considering raising the service charge to address the grievances of the agencies. 

Bohara also said that Malaysia had agreed to resume stalled negotiations on signing a labour agreement. The two countries have not signed a labour pact though the two governments first exchanged the draft in 2011. Nepal had sent a preliminary draft on labour agreement to Malaysia in June 2013—the third proposal in two years. 

“Malaysian officials are positive about signing the agreement soon. We will form a taskforce for the negotiation,” said Bohara. 

Malaysian authorities have also agreed to release 461 Nepali workers languishing in various detention centres. 

The minister said the government would look into the legality of various Malaysian companies that are currently providing visa processing service, security training and health check-up service to Nepali migrants. Malaysia has made it binding for Nepali workers to take “unfairly priced” services from these companies to be eligible to work there. 

Recruiting agencies in Nepal have been accusing Bohara, Nepal’s ambassador to Malaysia Niranjan Man Singh Basnyat and other senior officials of working in cahoots with Malaysian power brokers and Bangladeshi recruiting agencies to protect the Malaysian companies like VLN Nepal, Teleport and Biometric. 

They also claim that Bohara’s visit was held “at the behest of these companies arguing that it was the reason their representatives were not included in the meeting”. 

But Bohara dismissed such charges. “It’s completely baseless. We tried our best to include representatives of recruiting agencies. But the authorities there refused to include a third party in the meeting,” he said.

Published: 04-07-2016 08:31

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