Foreign employment: Govt to raise licence fee for recruiting firmsThe government is planning to charge new recruiting agencies more in licence fees, increasing the amount by more than three folds.
The government is planning to charge new recruiting agencies more in licence fees, increasing the amount by more than three folds.
In a bid to better manage the foreign employment sector, the government is planning to amend the Foreign Employment Act-2007, increasing the licence fees from Rs3 million to Rs10 million.
Earlier, the recruiting agencies seeking to enter the foreign employment sector had to pay Rs700,000 in cash deposits and 2.3 million as bank guarantee.
According to officials, the Labour Ministry has decided to increase the licence fee and charge the entire amount in cash.
The proposed hike in licence fees will keep the agencies that cannot afford to pay the compensation or other expenses in case of fraud away from the sector, said Bhuwan Prasad Acharya, spokesperson for the ministry.
However, Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies (Nafea), the umbrella organisation of recruiting agencies, has objected to the decision.
“The government is increasing the licence fee on two grounds: controlling the number of growing manpower agencies, and ensuring that such agencies can compensate victims of fraudulent activities. This is illogical,” said Nafea President Rohan Gurung. “On one hand, the government is trying to limit the number of manpower agencies. On the other, the Department of Foreign Employment has issued licences to 300 new recruiting agencies in the last eight months.”
Gurung also asked the government to provide data on the agencies involved in malpractices and the number of migrant workers cheated when the licence charge was Rs3 million to defend its logic.
Nafea has warned that it would not be compelled to follow such decision.
The final draft of the amendment bill prepared by the Ministry of Labour and Employment has already been sent to the Ministry of Law, Justice, Constituent Assembly and Parliamentary Affairs.
The proposed amendment is aimed at making the foreign employment sector, which is marred in malpractices and cases of fraud, more managed and refined.
The draft also suggests increasing the security deposit of health institutions seeking licence to issue medical certification for migrant workers, said Acharya.
One of the major changes sought in the Act is reining in manpower agents. With the amendment, the government aims to regulate the activities of the agents working for several firms.
“Earlier, no one would know such agents, who were involved in bringing aspiring migrant workers to the recruiting agencies. They were also involved in deceiving poor migrant workers. Now, s/he cannot run away after committing fraud,” added Acharya.
According to the draft bill, the agents will be registered with the respective District Administration Offices. After registration, they can apply for a licence with the Department of Foreign Employment attaching a recommendation letter from the CDO.
Spokesperson Acharya said the foreign employment sector will be managed as per the new federal structure.
“The amendment bill proposes establishing foreign employment-related bodies in all the seven provinces. We will be setting up new offices in Bara district as soon as possible,” said Acharya.
A special body has been proposed for overseeing training for aspiring migrant workers. The law also envisages providing all foreign employment related services online.