Recruiting agencies give government 60-day window to roll back decisionRecruiting agencies have launched a protest against the government’s latest measures to manage the foreign employment sector.
Recruiting agencies have launched a protest against the government’s latest measures to manage the foreign employment sector.
The Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies (NAFEA), the umbrella organisation of manpower companies, has threatened to shut down all their services if the government does not roll back its decisions.
Accusing the government of acting unilaterally, NAFEA has given a 60-day ultimatum to the government to reconsider its moves that, they claim, have discouraged the private sector in foreign employment.
Putting forth a 17-point demand, the association has warned of an indefinite strike and stop sending migrant workers unless the government addressed their concerns by December 11.
NAFEA President Rohan Gurung blamed the government of acting on its own without consulting the major stakeholders like recruiting agencies.
“We also want to make foreign employment a managed sector. For this, we have been asking the government to work together, but they have gone ahead to discourage private sector,” said Gurung.
The recruiting agencies have demanded withdrawal of the Cabinet decision of hiking the guarantee amount required for operation of recruiting agencies as its major demand.
Last month, the Cabinet had decided to hike the guarantee amount of recruiting agencies to Rs 60 million—a 20-fold increase on the existing amount—on the recommendation of the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security.
Earlier, the recruiting agencies had to deposit Rs3 million as guarantee amount—Rs700,000 in cash and Rs2.3 million as bank guarantee.
The move aimed to check recruiting agencies overcharging workers, and giving them the option to go for a merger.
“Such massive increase would keep small entrepreneurs who are doing their business honestly. If the government wants to reduce the number of such recruiting agencies, then they should not renew licence of those who have not sent 100 workers for the two consecutive years,” said Gurung, urging the government to think seriously whether they need the foreign employment sector at all.
Recruiting agencies’ other demands include revision of ‘free visa free ticket’ policy along the lines practiced across South Asian countries; review of minimum wages fixed by the government for various countries; immediately allowing workers to leave for Malaysia; scrapping the government decision making attestation of demand letters from Nepali missions in destination countries compulsory, among others.