New provision allows migrant workers to obtain re-entry labour permits in destination countriesThe move will give respite to thousands of Nepalis who otherwise had to come to Nepal for getting the permits.
Nepali migrants working in various labour destination countries will no longer have to travel to Nepal to get re-entry work permits.
With the Fifth Amendment in the existing Foreign Employment Regulations, Nepali workers can obtain a re-entry labour permit, which is required for resuming their jobs after the work break, from Nepali foreign missions in the respective destination countries.
This new provision will give respite to thousands of Nepali migrant workers who otherwise had to come to Nepal to get re-entry work permits before continuing their jobs with the same employers.
According to Bhola Nath Guragain, spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Employment, workers can get the re-entry labour permits even if they have switched their job as per the local labour law.
“The move will provide relief to thousands of workers based in various countries. If they want to continue working with the same employer, they can get a permit from the Nepal Embassy and resume work without any hassles,” Guragain told the Post.
An aspiring migrant worker receives a labour permit for a maximum of two years. Although they have a work contract with the employer for two years of labour permit, most of them keep working with the same employer even after the contract is over. They renew their visa but continue working with the same employer, resulting in overstay.
When these workers come back to Nepal, they have to receive re-entry work permits from one of the Labour and Employment Offices under the department.
“When the expiry date of their labour permit is near, they can get it from the embassy. While in Nepal, they don’t have to visit any offices for approval. So they can spend maximum time with their family during the break,” Guragain said.
Workers without valid labour permit have remained deprived of the financial assistance the government provides. Families of the workers who have overstayed in the labour destination countries are not eligible to receive financial support from the Foreign Employment Board in case of worker’s death abroad, injury and treatment of diseases.
The government has been providing financial assistance to family members of the workers who lost their lives, got critically injured or contracted life-threatening diseases on their foreign jobs. The government support also provides medical coverage for 15 different types of critical diseases contracted during their work abroad.
As workers can easily get re-entry work permits from where they are working, the tendency of overstaying is likely to go down, said the department spokesperson.
The worker can get a re-entry work permit after submitting a copy of their labour permit, passport, visa of first entry and then renewed visa for extending the stay, employment contract, insurance, receipt of depositing the contribution amount to the Migrant Worker’s Welfare Fund.
Upon receiving the application, the Nepali mission can issue the re-entry labour permit.
Recruiting agencies said providing re-entry permits from labour destination countries is a praiseworthy move and will provide respite to labour force abroad.
“Providing services to migrant workers at accessible places is a good move,” said Rohan Gurung, president of Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies, the umbrella organisation of the recruiting agencies engaged in hiring Nepali workers for foreign companies. “Let’s hope this move of providing services in labour destination countries does not create an opportunity for corruption, which will be unfortunate.”
In a bid to decentralise services for migrant workers, the government had opened Employment and Labour Offices in all provinces. The offices have been providing re-entry work permits to workers, saving their time and money for coming to Kathmandu for the document in the past. However, there has been a report of corruption in those offices and beneficiaries facing difficulties in receiving the permit.
“What if the agents and traffickers start sending workers using illegal routes without seeking labour permit?” said Gurung. “They can trick the workers into getting labour permit from the embassy after reaching the destination country. We have to wait for its effective implementation.”