Print Edition - 2016-10-09 | News
Agencies press govt to review visa-ticket rule
Oct 9, 2016-
The Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies (Nafea) has asked the government to reconsider its free visa free ticket policy arguing that the low cost recruitment scheme has done more harm than good to the foreign employment sector.
Nafea representatives hold the policy responsible for the decline in job demand as employers in the Gulf and Malaysia are not willing to fund for ticket and visa fees. But the Nafea is said to be ready to comply with the rules if the government agrees to revise the service charge and seek commitment of the labour receiving countries to bearing the expenses for the visa and air ticket.
Nafea office bearers are relentlessly lobbying for suspension of the scheme after the formation of the CPN (Maoist Centre)-Nepali Congress government. Many of them are actively engaged in the NC politics.
In several meetings with Labour Minister Surya Man Gurung held over the past few weeks, Nafea representatives asked the government to release findings of the study carried out to evaluate the challenges in enforcing the low cost scheme.
“We are seeking total suspension of the policy until further homework is done.
If the government refuses to do so, we will at least seek to raise the service charge,” said a Nafea official, adding that Minister Gurung was positive about settling the row over the free provisions in an amicable way.
Although most agencies are charging much higher, the new law allows the recruiting agencies to charge up to Rs10,000 for sending the migrants to the six countries in the Gulf and Malaysia.
Recruiting agencies said that Nepal is likely to face a heavy decline in job demand if the government keeps introducing “short-sighted” plans and polices without consulting with other stakeholders whose support is necessary for translating the plans and policies into action.
The Department of Foreign Employment issued work permits to 418,713 individuals in the fiscal year 2015-16, an 18 percent drop from 512,887 migrants who took up overseas jobs in the corresponding period last year. DoFE officials said that around 50,000 youths acquired the permit in the past two months.
Nafea former chairman Bal Bahadur Tamang said the recruiting agencies were ready to support the government’s initiative to lessen the economic burden of the workers.
“But we risk losing job demand from many countries due to the populist plans and policies. The government should consult with all the stakeholders if it really wants workers to benefit from its plans and policies,” said Tamang.
Nafea has also asked the government to suspend the illegally operating agents of the Malaysian government, pointing at a blatant exploitation of workers at the hands of the outsourcing firms.
Malaysia has made it mandatory for Nepali migrants to take expensive service from its four outsourcing agencies before departure.
Nepali migrant workers have to pay up to Rs35,000 to the Malaysian outsourcing agencies depending on the nature of the job.
Govinda Mani Bhurtel, spokesperson for the Ministry of Labour and Employment, said the government was working to address the legitimate concerns of the agencies.
Published: 09-10-2016 08:33