Overseas ordeal: Govt aye to legal help for workersThe Cabinet on Thursday endorsed the plan to defend the rights of Nepali migrant workers needing legal help in foreign countries.
The Cabinet on Thursday endorsed the plan to defend the rights of Nepali migrant workers needing legal help in foreign countries.
As per the new directive, the government will facilitate legal support for those Nepali workers, who migrated through legal channels, and are facing legal issues or are accused of criminal offences.
To avail legal help, the worker’s contract has to be valid and not expired. The government would bear the legal expenses required to defend Nepali workers. It would budget for these legal services by extracting from the Foreign Employment Promotion Board’s (FEPB) relief fund. The Board could provide a maximum of Rs1.5 million and this amount could be sanctioned in advance, if required.
Hundreds of Nepali workers are in prisons or awaiting trial in foreign countries.According to government data, shared by Labour Minister Gokarna Bista in Parliament on Wednesday, 335 Nepalis are in foreign prisons.
For accessing the government support, the worker or their family members would have to apply at the Nepali embassy in the respective foreign country, or the agency concerned in Nepal, with all the required documents citing reasons for their inability to bear the litigation fees.
In case of failure by the workers and their families to apply for legal support, the Nepali mission could take the initiative to provide help.
After receiving the application, the mission will investigate the criminal offence, legal aspects of the case in the destination country, case hearing process and other legal provisions.
The government will hire a competent local lawyer with knowledge of the foreign country’s legal system to defend the legal rights of Nepali migrant workers, the directive says.
The decision to provide legal assistance to Nepali workers languishing in foreign prisons on false cases or because they could not afford legal service was one of the reforms Minister Bista introduced after he assumed office last April.