Migrant workers now require bank accounts to receive work permitsGovernment’s move to make it mandatory for all aspiring workers to have a bank account, however, hit a snag on the first day, as almost nobody knew about the new rule.
The government has introduced a new policy which makes it mandatory for migrant workers to have a bank account at home if they want to leave for work abroad. With the rule coming into force on Monday, all foreign-bound workers need to submit details of their bank accounts to receive the labour permit from the Department of Foreign Employment.
According to Bhisma Kumar Bhushal, director general at the department, the decision has been taken to formalise all financial transactions carried out by migrant workers.
“Hereon, all the transactions done by migrant workers—such as remittance and service charge paid to recruitment agencies as well as financial support given to migrant workers' families in case of worker’s death, injury or diseases—will happen via the same bank account,” Bhushal told the Post.
However, the government’s decision to enforce the new rule hit a snag on the very first day of its implementation.
The government had decided that it would make the rule mandatory for all workers starting Monday. The department had even issued a notice on its website last Thursday saying that details of bank accounts of migrant workers or family members must be presented while applying for labour permits.
But when it enforced the decision, most of the workers visiting the Foreign Employment Office in Kathmandu for labour permits were found to have no idea about the new rule.
The short duration and lack of information among aspiring migrant workers ultimately forced the department to revise the rule on the day it was enforced. Although the provision of linking bank details remains intact, it is not mandatory for all.
“The decision has not been withdrawn. We have only made slight changes with it,” Bhushal said. “When we interacted with visitors at the office, they suggested it should not be mandatory immediately. We have to consider their concerns. We cannot force it upon them.”
As per the revision with the new rule, migrant workers need not submit bank papers mandatorily right away. For now, migrant workers can voluntarily submit their papers.
A taskforce under Mahesh Prasad Dahal, former secretary at the Labour, Employment and Social Security Ministry, had recommended that migrant workers have bank accounts to formalise remittance, because there had been reports that money was coming via informal channels.
According to Bhushal, the department will take measures to promote and execute the rule and it would be mandatory for everyone from September 18 by the latest.
Aspiring workers can upload the bank details on the Foreign Employment Information Management System (FEIMS), the integrated system which was launched last year, to provide all information and services concerning foreign employment in one place. Workers can also apply for labour permits through the FEIMS.
According to the Foreign Employment Office, Kathmandu chief Suresh Joshi, the bank details column has been updated in the system and those who wish to share the details can do it anytime.
“Candidates applying for the work-permit using online system can share their bank details,” said Joshi. “It will soon be mandatory for all after candidates become aware of the new provision and collecting their feedback.”
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