Government set to resume issuing labour permits to outbound workersDecision comes following resumption of flights to some countries. The Tahachal-based Foreign Employment Office will be issuing the permits only on Wednesdays.
With the resumption of a limited number of international flights, the government is set to start issuing labour permits in person to outbound migrant workers.
Although a few permits were issued on Friday itself when the decision was made, the Foreign Employment Office, which is under the Department of Foreign Employment, has decided to officially resume issuing the permits in person from its office from June 9.
The office had suspended in-person issuance of the permits since May 7 following the suspension of international flights by the government, although online issuance of the permits was unaffected.
“Since some international flights have started now, we have decided to resume our services to those who plan to migrate by these scheduled flights. Aspiring migrant workers who need to register their biometric details for a labour permit can visit the office,” Krishna Prasad Dawadi, director general of the department told the Post. “Labour permits will be issued in person but just once a week for now.
After the authorities in the Kathmandu Valley imposed prohibitory orders from April 29 to stem the spread of the coronavirus, the office had reduced its daily quota of labour permits to in-person applicants while encouraging online applications.
But later, the office completely halted several of its services like issuance of final labour permit, status legalisation and new labour permit that require migrant workers to visit the office.
“The decision was made on Friday so we issued labour permits to around 30 individuals who had visited our office on the first day itself,” said Dawadi. “But from now on we will be issuing the permits only on Wednesdays until further notice.”
According to Dawadi, although the office had encouraged people to apply for labour permits online during the period of prohibitory orders, there were very few online applications.
In May last week, the government had decided to allow a limited number of regular commercial flights to select countries including China, Turkey and Qatar starting June 1. The government decision had come following reports that some migrant workers were subjected to exorbitant fares for chartered flights in the absence of regular flights, and also in a bid to help workers stuck in Nepal and abroad.
Nepali nationals, mainly outbound workers at home and homebound workers stranded in various labour destination countries, were hit hard after the government suspended international flights from the midnight of May 6.
Officials hope that the number of migrants seeking labour permits could go up as the international flights have resumed.
The distribution of labour permits in person from offices outside Kathmandu remains suspended as much of the country still remains under prohibitory orders. The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent restrictions have badly affected labour migration as thousands of Nepalis remain stuck at home and abroad.
Since the imposition of prohibitory orders in the Kathmandu Valley and the scaling down of services by the Foreign Employment Office, around 4,500 Nepalis have received labour permits.
“We expect a surge in the number of migrants seeking labour permits both online and in person in the coming weeks,” said Dawadi, adding. “As flights to Qatar have resumed, migrant workers can travel to other Gulf countries as well using Qatar as transit.”