‘Govt cannot stop issuing licences to new companies’

  • limiting number of recruiting agencies
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Feb 20, 2018-

The government has said it cannot stop granting licences to new foreign employment recruitment agencies as demanded by the Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies (NAFEA).

Claiming that the number of manpower supply agencies are already high in the country, NAFEA has been demanding the government not to issue new operating licences. It has argued that India, which has a population of over one billion, has only 1,000 agencies against nearly 1,500 in Nepal. 

The Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE) has maintained that it cannot deny an operating licence to a company that meets the criteria stipulated by the Foreign Employment Act (2007) and the Foreign Employment Rules (2008).

“Their (NAFEA) request to stop licence to new agencies cannot be addressed. We are issuing licence as per the existing laws that govern the foreign employment sector. Also, the court decision does not allow us to discontinue granting of licence,” said Mohan Adhikari, the DoFE spokesperson.

The issue of limiting the number of foreign job recruitment agencies has long been a subject of debate among government agencies. The Baburam Bhattarai-led government had event written to the Labour Ministry, asking the latter to stop distributing operating licences to new companies, saying that the DoFE, with its limited human resources, cannot monitor the activities of all recruitment agencies. 

The DoFE had then stopped issuing licences for new companies at the government’s instruction. But the injunction was challenged at the Supreme Court by the aspirant recruiting agencies. 

On June 1, 2014, the apex court gave its ruling in favour of the plaintiff. Following the court, the DoFE  began issuing licences to new companies only to halt the process again.For the second time the SC intervened. In April 2016, the court again made it clear that the existing laws do not prevent the DoFE from issuing operating licences to new companies. DoFE spokesperson Adhikari said the department cannot deny operating licences to companies that meet all requirements to start overseas manpower supply services.

“The decision is supported by the Supreme Court and we will follow them,” he said.

Ever since the debate over opening new foreign employment recruitment agencies came to the fore, the DoFE has issued around 300 operating licences and registered over 1,300 new companies, much to the disappointment of NAFEA.

Published: 20-02-2018 09:09

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