Insurance Board revises premiums for migrant workersMigrant workers will have to spend less on premiums and they can pay from abroad through online payment gateways.
The Insurance Board has revised premiums paid by migrant workers before going to work overseas, which will provide much-needed financial respite to them.
For years, tens of thousands of Nepali migrant workers have been paying for a three-insurance package although they get the labour permit of working overseas only for two years.
Now, the Board—insurance regulatory authority under the Ministry of Finance—has made changes in policy that only requires a migrant worker to pay only for additional six months besides their working tenure of two years.
The Department of Foreign Employment—the government body managing the country's labour migration and governance—has long been criticising the policy for it financially exploits migrant workers.
According to Raju Raman Paudel, executive director of the board, the decision was made following concerns raised by the Department of Foreign Employment.
“There has been discussion regarding why workers were made to pay for a three-year package whereas their work contract used to be for only two years,” said Paudel. “Now they do not have to pay for one extra year but only six months. This will certainly provide a respite to migrant workers.”
As migrant workers do not have to pay for a whole year of extra premium, the board has also introduced new rates of premium with six months of breakdown. Migrant workers have to pay a varied premium based on their age group.
Paying for six months of additional premium will cover workers’ three months before departure period in Nepal and the other three months will provide coverage in labour destination countries even when their tenure is over.
“It takes a minimum of three months of processing before workers can migrate. Likewise, sometimes the worker stays a little longer even when their job contract is over,” said Paudel. “They will get the coverage for an additional three months after their contract is over.”
Besides, the board has also asked insurance companies to make arrangements for accepting premium payments via cheques and online payment gateways.
The Department of Foreign Employment had already signed agreements with various online payments gateways. With these online gateways, aspiring migrant workers can make payments for insurance and Migrant Workers’ Welfare Fund to get work permits from the department.
“The board has asked insurance companies to accept their fees via online payment services and make it easier for migrant workers so they can make the payment from wherever they are,” said Paudel.
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.
Unavailability of online payment options has affected the government decision of providing re-entry work permits to migrant workers from labour destination countries.
In August 2019, the government had decided that Nepali migrant workers could apply and receive re-entry labour permits without having to come to Nepal.