Qatari employers to pay service fees to Nepali recruiting agenciesFrom next month, the Nepali mission in Doha will not verify workers’ demand if Qatari employers do not agree to pay Nepal-based recruiting agencies their service charges.
Qatari employers who wish to hire Nepali workers will have to commit to paying service charges to Nepal-based recruiting agencies during the hiring process from now on.
The Nepali mission in Doha has made it mandatory for Qatari employers who apply for approval of Nepali workers’ demand letter that they must agree to provide service charges to Nepali agencies. Otherwise, they will not be able to hire Nepali workers.
According to stakeholders, the new provision enforced by the Nepali mission is likely to promote transparency in the hiring of Nepali workers for Qatar jobs.
“This is the right decision that the Nepali mission wants to know how much these employers are paying to Nepal-based recruiting agencies,” Tikamani Neuapane, spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Employment, the main agency which oversees the foreign employment sector, told the Post. “This will make the whole process transparent.”
Nepali mission in Doha has notified local employers that while applying for demand attestation at the embassy, they need to express commitment to providing service charges to Nepali recruiting agencies effective from March 1.
“Any demand attestation requests without such commitment will not be entertained for further procedure,” said the Nepali embassy in Doha.
Foreign employers have to approach Nepali missions abroad with the demand verification document if they wish to employ Nepali nationals, which is the first process of hiring Nepali migrant workers.
The process of getting workers’ demand verification from Nepali missions based in the country concerned was made mandatory as per a 2018 directive. The rule was enforced to make the overall hiring process more transparent and minimise fraud which was happening through fake demand letters.
While assessing the demand letter verified by agencies of the destination country, the foreign mission would also gather information on the situation of Nepali workers in the same company; basic salary; facilities, services and remunerations provided to workers; condition of the workplace, housing, health and security situations.
According to Swarna Kumar Jha, a labour migration expert, the new rule will help in ensuring that workers do not have to pay any amount to recruiting agencies since the employer has already paid them the amount on behalf of workers.
“The provision makes it easier to monitor whether the employer has paid recruitment fees to agencies or not. Such a move will make recruiting agencies accountable if they grab such fees from both the employers and workers,” said Jha, coordinator of the National Network for Safe Migration, a group of organisations working for promoting safer migration. “Asking employers to pay for services of recruiting agencies will also mean there will be an official record that they were paid for hiring workers for foreign employers.”
As per the existing provisions of the ‘Free Visa and Free Ticket’ policy, recruiting agencies cannot charge more than Rs10,000 from a foreign job applicant in exchange for their services. Also, the Nepal government’s recent understanding of destination countries provisions that workers should not be paying any fees for overseas jobs.
However, Nepali workers continue to spend thousands of rupees for getting jobs abroad, and recruiting agencies also express their dissatisfaction at the existing ceiling of service charges.
While Jha welcomed the new rule in making employers cover the recruitment fees, he thinks the Nepali embassy in Doha could develop a specific format so as to fix the amount to be received by such agencies.
“If only there is a fixed ceiling of minimum to maximum amount recruiting agencies would receive from Qatari employers, it would make the whole process even more transparent. The service charge can be fixed as per the nature of the jobs,” said Jha.
“Even the Qatari embassy in Nepal can discuss with Nepal-based recruiting agencies their challenges and the amount they might need in the service charge. Recruiting agencies also have a business and make their investments so that they should not be impacted unfairly.”