Experts doubt new labour offices will ease centre’s loadThe government decision to set up foreign employment offices in three new places outside Kathmandu Valley will not ease pressure on the central office, say some foreign employment experts.
The government decision to set up foreign employment offices in three new places outside Kathmandu Valley will not ease pressure on the central office, say some foreign employment experts.
As long as services like medical test, job orientation and departure flight are centred in Kathmandu, they say decentralisation of Foreign Employment Office will not yield the desired results.
Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Security Gokarna Bista on Tuesday announced the plan to set up new offices in Itahari, Janakpur and Butwal for issuing work permits to migrant workers.
While the Foreign Employment Office (FEO) in Kathmandu expects to see at least 50 percent drop in the number of clients after the three offices come into operation, experts in the foreign employment field say the service will benefit only a small segment of migrant workers.
The new offices is likely to give respite to only those migrant workers who have returned on a break after working in a company and wish to go and work in the same company again, but not those people applying for foreign jobs for the first time.
Foreign employment expert Ganesh Gurung said with services like medical test and job orientation trainings mostly concentrated in Kathmandu Valley, the FEO branch offices will not draw the expected number of clients.
“The clients will have to visit Kathmandu anyway. For the FEO branch offices to work, the government should also think about decentralising other essential services required for migrant workers. Introducing online system for registration, verification and approval of papers is also crucial,” Gurung said.
The FEO in Kathmandu has been issuing up to 3,000 work permits daily to the clients who have applied for overseas jobs personally as well as through recruiting agencies.
“Setting up new offices will help reduce the crowd at the Kathmandu office. Migrant workers from outside Kathmandu Valley can get the permit from any of the three offices that they deem convenient,” said Prem Deshar, the FEO officiating chief.
But asked about the current practice of clients visiting the Kathmandu office since they have to visit the Capital city anyway to catch their flights, Deshar said they cannot preclude such contingency.
“Certainly, it has been observed that most clients from outside the Kathmandu Valley come here days before their departure to get their work permits. It is possible that they might not visit the branch offices to get their work permits if they have to come to Kathmandu to catch their flights,” said Deshar.
Rohan Gurung, the president of Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies, welcomed the decision saying it would help workers, seeking work-permit under re-entry category while cautioning the government about the possibility of fraud agents who could target the clients visiting the FEO branch offices.
Work permit is compulsory for any person going abroad for employment. Generally, for those going for foreign employment for the first time, the concerned recruiting agencies get the work permits, thus saving the clients the hassle of visiting the FEO.
But for those going for foreign employment on visas sent through personal channels and those re-entering the labour destination countries, securing work permits from the FEO is a must.