Leaders vow zero cost jobs for migrant workers

- CHANDAN KUMAR MANDAL, Kathmandu

Nov 17, 2018-

Government officials and ministers from 12 labour source countries including Nepal have agreed to work together to relieve migrant workers from recruitment cost that they have to bear while applying for foreign employment.

They made the commitment of zero cost jobs for migrant workers on the concluding day of the high level meeting of the Colombo Process, a common regional forum of labour source countries, in Kathmandu on Friday.

“Zero cost jobs for migrant workers is our ultimate aim. Our recent success in signing no recruitment cost deal with Malaysia has generated a positive vibe among labour sending countries. This deal can be seen as a milestone for all the labour supplying regional countries,” said Labour Secretary Mahesh Prasad Dahal.

The 6th Ministerial Consultation on Overseas Employment and Contractual Labour for Countries of Origin in Asia (Colombo Process) also issued a 27-point Kathmandu Declaration that aims at making labour migration safe, managed and dignified.

Inaugurating the meeting of ministers and delegates, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Ishwar Pokhrel said workers should not be denied safer and well-managed migration opportunities.

“There are several incidents of migrant workers suffering due to anomalies and discrepancies at various levels. One of them is unethical recruitment, which can be solved only with the collective consultations among both source and destination countries,” he said.    

The two-day meet of officials, migration experts and ministers from 12 countries also highlighted the need to work in collaboration to improve labour migration in all phases of foreign employment.

Addressing the inaugural session of the Ministerial Consultation, Labour Minister Gokarna Bista said, “Some categories of workers are more vulnerable than others and merit special attention and protection measure. In particular, low skilled workers and women workers are the most vulnerable, and as a member of Colombo Process we should urgently seek ways for collaboration to jointly address these issues.”

 The Colombo Process ministerial level meeting also agreed to continue its works in its other thematic areas, like promoting ethical recruitment practices, pre-departure orientation and empowerment of workers, promote cheaper, faster and safer transfer of remittances and finding out new markets for workers.

The 12 Asian countries - Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Viet Nam - that represent half of the world population highly rely on remittance sent back by their workers.  

The Kathmandu Declaration envisions the Colombo Process working towards reducing remittance transaction costs to less than 3 percent in line with the 2030 Agenda for the Sustainable Development Goals, strengthening grievance mechanisms and removing obstacles that migrant workers may face accessing justice.

Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali lauded the effort of the Colombo Process member states for succeeding in feeding joint recommendations to the upcoming Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), due to be adopted by the United Nations next month.

“The Colombo Process should look for developing mechanisms for productive usage of the remittance these countries receive so that the future generation doesn’t have to migrate for jobs,”  he said.

Published: 17-11-2018 08:51

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