Nafea threatens to return licences en masseOverseas employment recruiting agencies have threatened to renounce their company licence en masse to protest against what they call “unhelpful policies” introduced by the government.
Overseas employment recruiting agencies have threatened to renounce their company licence en masse to protest against what they call “unhelpful policies” introduced by the government.
The agencies have further warned of fully stopping their regular services from next week in a move that could affect more than 1,000 service seekers each day.
More than 60 percent of around 1,500 Nepali migrants take overseas jobs with the help of recruiting agencies while the rest go through their own channels. Some agencies have already halted their services in the wake of police raids to what authorities allege “cover up their unscrupulous activities”.
The Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies (Nafea) plans to return licences of more than 300 recruiting agencies to the Ministry of Labour and Employment on Tuesday. Nafea representatives, who had been protesting against the police raids, said they will not stop the agitation unless there is revision in the service charge.
“Low service charge is the source of all problems in the foreign employment industry. We are ready to assist the government in tackling the anomalies prevalent in the recruitment sector. But the government must increase service charge. It’s impossible to send migrants under the current rate,” said Bal Bahadur Tamang, Nafea former chairman.
Under the free-visa-free-ticket scheme introduced in June last year, recruiting agencies can charge a maximum of Rs10,000 from oversees jobs applicants. Soon after the scheme came into effect, recruiting agencies had disrupted foreign employment-related services for a month demanding suspension of the provision. More than 20,000 aspirant migrants were affected.
Nafea representatives have now dropped the demand for suspension of the scheme. Seeking a hike in service charge, they are pressing the government to sign labour agreement with the host countries. Recruiting agencies claim that they should be permitted to take at least one month’s salary from workers as per the international practice. They claim that most labour sending countries including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Philippines allow the agencies to charge up to one month’s pay in fees.
Government officials said the manpower agencies were using the levy as an excuse to engage in unlawful activities. They said they were ready to discuss appropriate changes in law if recruiting agencies sit for unconditional talks.
“The department will continue to monitor the agencies and book those engaged in unscrupulous activities,” said Kedar Bahadur Bogati, director general of the Department of Foreign Employment.