Foreign employment department swings into action against fraud casesThe regulator has collected more than Rs 45 million in six months from recruiting agencies to compensate migrant workers.
Chandan Kumar Mandal
The government has collected more than Rs45 million from recruiting agencies and sub-agents over the last six months to pay compensations to the migrant workers who had filed fraud complaints at the Department of Foreign Employment.
The amount is six times more than the sum collected in the same period last fiscal year.
The department also fined recruiting agencies more than Rs8 million for cheating their clients.
The department has intensified its investigation into the grievances registered by migrant workers and their relatives against individuals and recruiting agencies, according to Bhisma Kumar Bhusal, director-general at the foreign employment department.
“The department has started overseeing institutional cases, which have been pending for over 15 years now. Out of nearly 1,400 such cases, the department has settled most of them, with only 300 such cases remaining now,” said Bhusal. “In the last six months, we also observed a trend of fewer complaints and a surge in cases registered in court.”
In the period between mid-April and mid-November, out of the total 763 institutional complaints registered with the department, 341 have been settled, which is a 45 percent success rate. In the period between mid-June and mid-July, 692 institutional complaints—both old and new—were settled.
According to the department, among the 177 individual complaints lodged, 102 were forwarded to the court in the last four months after the department completed its investigation.
“Earlier, there was a huge gap between the number of complaints registered at the department and such cases filed in court seeking compensation for the victim,” said Bhusal. “For instance, in the Nepali month of Bhadra, 49 cases were registered at the department, and 41 were taken to court, which shows the investigations have become quicker and effective.”
Incidents of fraud have plagued the foreign employment sector for years. Aspiring migrant workers are often duped by recruiting agencies and agents who give a misleading description of the nature of jobs, salaries and facilities in labour destinations.
Although the government has enforced a Free Visa Free Ticket policy that aims to provide jobs to aspirant migrant workers at minimum investment, the policy has yet to come into force as workers are often compelled to shell out exorbitant amounts for jobs in the Arab-Gulf countries and Malaysia.
In recent months, the department has also intensified its monitoring of recruiting agencies and introduced various new rules for protecting migrant workers from potential fraud.
“The department is also trying to partner with Nepal Police for a joint investigation,” said Bhusal. “Once the partnership materialises, half of the fraudulent cases in the foreign employment sector will vanish.”