Online payment gateways available for migrant workersThe new agreement between the Foreign Employment Department and online payment gateways makes it easier for migrant workers to pay for insurance, welfare fund and also for the re-entry work permits from labour destination countries in the near future.
Migrant workers bound for various labour destination countries will be able to make their payments via online payment gateways soon, making it easier for them to pay for such services from anywhere.
The payment via online platforms has become possible for the first time after the Department of Foreign Employment signed agreements with various online payment gateways.
With these online gateways agreeing to accept fees, aspiring migrant workers will be able to make payments for insurance and Migrant Workers’ Welfare Fund for receiving work permit from the department.
The department has signed the agreement with payment gateways like Esewa, Sparrow Pay Pvt. Ltd, which operates Khalti Digital Wallet and Connect IPS for making these services easier for migrant workers.
“We have tried making it easier for migrant workers as they can make these payments from anywhere without having to pay cash,” said Bhisma Kumar Bhushal, director-general with the department. “They can still make these payments by depositing the amounts via bank account too. But payment via online gateways gives them more options.”
Currently, migrant workers have to pay for insurance services at the outlets of insurance companies, which are only set up outside the Foreign Employment Office, Tahachal, Kathmandu and other labour offices outside in provincial headquarters.
For accepting these payments for insurance premiums, migrant workers will not have to pay any additional charges, according to Bhusal. The payment gateways will collect the insurance amounts and will deposit in the bank account of the insurance providers. The confirmation of the payment will also be updated at the Foreign Employment Information Management System, an integrated online platform where all the major stakeholders are connected.
Issue of re-entry permit for migrant workers in labour destination countries has not been materialised because of the payment issue. Last year, the government had decided that Nepali migrant workers could apply and receive re-entry labour permits without having to come to Nepal. But it could not happen because there was no platform available for paying the premium of insurance companies.
“Arrival of online payment options has paved the way for re-entry labour permit from the countries where the workers are based,” said Bhusal. “We are waiting for the response of insurance companies now.”
One of the four insurance providers—Surya Life Insurance Company Pvt Ltd—signed the contract with the Foreign Employment Department on Sunday to accept premium charges through an online payment. The insurance company will issue the insurance scheme from any of its branches, meaning the worker would not have to visit its counters at Tahachal office any longer.
These payment gateways are also inking deals with the Foreign Employment Board, the patron of the welfare fund. Every migrant worker needs to contribute Rs1,500 before getting the labour permit. Even the contribution to the fund will be made via online payment gateways.
In recent times, the department has been slowly taking all the services online for providing hassle-free services to migrant workers and recruitment agencies.
Linking all the payment with online gateways is government’s larger goal of making all the transaction done by the migrant workers electronic, which was started with the introduction of the provision that made it mandatory for all the workers to have a bank account before seeking work permits. Recruiting agencies should also accept service charges payment from workers via these gateways. They can also pay their licence renewal fees via the same system.
“Electronic transactions are part of making our services and system more transparent and improving governance in the foreign employment sector,” said Bhusal. “We want to minimise the meetings between government officials and recruitment agencies representatives. Online payments further keep them apart from each other.”