Apex body to fine agencies cheating migrant workers

  • NAFEA pushes for fair trade practices
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Apr 7, 2018-

The apex body of foreign employment agencies on Friday warned it would slap penalties on members cheating migrant workers and indulging in dubious trade practices.

 The Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies’ (NAFEA) decision follows Oli government’s vow to overhaul the foreign employment sector after tardy execution of the ‘Free Visa: Free Ticket’ scheme The government had earlier said it would apply existing laws strictly on recruiting agencies to protect migrant workers’ rights.

The dubious practice of overcharging workers seeking foreign jobs in the GCC and Malaysia continues because of illegal agents. Unfair trade practices and competition between registered agencies also add financial stress on migrant workers, the apex body said.

Speaking to the Post, NAFEA President Rohan Gurung said, “Some agencies pay commissions to agents and company staff to compete with rivals to meet the demand for migrant workers.

“The competition and unfair practice of paying money for visas and extra commission ultimately increases the financial burden on workers. We will penalise such agencies if they repeat such unprofessional acts.” The NAFEA has created an email address to receive workers’ complaints. It has a separate website to connect aspirant migrant workers with recruiting agencies, and to protect them from the probability of cheating by illegal agents. 

The NAFEA will gather details of migrant workers through the new website. Based on workers’ choice of country and vocation, apex body will connect with recruiting agencies looking for workers with specific qualifications.

Recruiting agencies not happy with the free visa and free ticket scheme, have proposed another revision.The NAFEA has said it would continue with free visa, but the provision of free air ticket needs review. Its new proposal says workers should pay for their tickets, if the hiring companies do not give free air tickets. 

“Many companies do not give free tickets. In this case, the workers should pay for their airfare similar to the practice in other South Asian countries like India and Bangladesh,” said Gurung. 

Recruiting agencies have reiterated they want a worker’s one-month salary as service charge if the employing company does not pay service charge to recruiting agencies that supply them workers. Other expenses like medical examination, insurance, welfare funds, orientation trainings should be borne by migrant workers, according to NAFEA.

Government’s popular free-visa, free-ticket scheme, announced in June 2015, has fixed the maximum charge of Rs. 10,000 for recruiting agencies as service charge for sending workers to Gulf countries and Malaysia. Nearly three years after the introduction of the scheme, migrant workers continue to play large amounts for 

job placements in foreign countries. 

Published: 07-04-2018 07:47

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