Government awaits committee report to address agitated recruiting agencies’ demandsRecruiting agencies’ main demand is interest on the cash they deposit as part of the increased guarantee amount
Chandan Kumar Mandal
As the recruiting agencies supplying Nepali migrant workers to foreign companies have forwarded a list of demands and threatened to suspend operations for a week, concerned officials say they are waiting for the submission of the final report by a committee that was formed to resolve the matter.
A high-level source at the Labour, Employment and Social Security Ministry told the Post that agitated recruiting agencies’ concerns can be addressed only after the committee—comprising government officials and recruiting agencies representatives—submits the final report.
“The ministry is informed about the recruiting agencies’ demands, but nothing can be done immediately,” an official told the Post on the condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to speak on the matter.
Last week, the Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies, the umbrella organisation of the recruiting agencies engaged in sending Nepali migrant workers to foreign companies, said they would shut down all operations and stop departures of migrant workers for a week starting from May 31 if the government failed to address their demands.
Their main demand is interest on the cash amount they deposit as part of the increased guarantee amount which every recruiting agency has to deposit for conducting their business.
Unsatisfied with hikes in the guarantee amount—which has reached minimum Rs20 million to maximum Rs60 million—they have demanded interest on the cash deposit.
After blaming the labour ministry for not paying attention to their concerns, the recruiting agencies are now trying to gather political support.
They submitted a letter of memorandum to the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers on Thursday, requesting it to direct the Labour Ministry to address their concerns.
“Their concern is genuine, as they have to invest a large amount for the guarantee amount. However, the solution should be both legal and rationale,” a source said on condition of anonymity because the report is yet to be submitted. “Since they are demanding interest on the amount deposited in the government account, we have to find legal ways and make other mechanisms so that the interest amount can be provided to them. We have to wait for the recommendations of the committee and discuss with all the stakeholders for the purpose.”
However, the nine-member committee, which includes five government officials and four representatives from recruiting companies, has failed to reach a conclusion. The last meeting scheduled for May 12 was boycotted by recruiting agencies.
The new deposit amount, which was fixed after amending the Foreign Employment Act, 2007, will be implemented from August 25 this year. Recruiting agencies have said if the government doesn’t make arrangements to provide interest on their cash deposit then they will submit their license to the government.