Govt sets new rule to protect Nepalis working abroadGovernment has made it mandatory for recruiting agencies and foreign companies, seeking Nepali migrant workers, to get their work demand letters approved by the Nepali foreign missions based in destination countries.
Chandan Kumar Mandal
Government has made it mandatory for recruiting agencies and foreign companies, seeking Nepali migrant workers, to get their work demand letters approved by the Nepali foreign missions based in destination countries.
The new provision has been introduced after there were rampant cases of cheating of Nepali migrant workers through fake demand letters.
For dealing with such illicit practices, the government has brought in a new directive, ‘Foreign Employment Related Demand Letter Enquiry Directive (2018)’, which was endorsed by the cabinet on Monday. From now onwards, the Nepali mission abroad, which includes Nepali embassies, Consulates General, Permanent Missions, Special Missions and other diplomatic missions, set up by the Government of Nepal, would verify the demand letter submitted by companies or recruiting agencies on behalf of such hiring companies for obtaining manpower from Nepal.
These demand letters are sent to the Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE) for receiving pre-permission for accepting Nepali workers. However, there have been incidents of fake demand letters produced by hiring companies, agents and recruiting agencies involved in supplying workers in countries, especially Gulf countries and Malaysia, major destinations for Nepali workers.
The Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Security Gokarna Bista hoped that the new directive would contribute in solving most of the problems faced by migrant workers as well as irregularities during issuing of demand letters.
“This directive has been introduced after consultation with experts and former ambassadors, who have pointed out problems in demand letters, ultimately deceiving poor Nepali workers,” said Minister Bista, and added, “There used to be problems in demand letters. For example, they would show better facilities, remunerations and other services in the demand letters, which would differ in the agreement and when workers would start working.”Earlier, those companies used to send their demand letters directly to the department after approvals by local notary public offices and local Chamber of Commerce.
“The Chamber of Commerce and Notary Public would give permission to those companies to invite Nepali workers only after checking the legal status of the company, but not their financial condition, facilities and services being given to workers,” said Minister Bista. Only few reputed companies would send demand letters with similar facilities mentioned in preliminary work permit and the final work permit. In many cases, recruiting agencies were found to be bribing local agents and staff of the hiring companies for procuring workers demand, showing attractive perks for workers. With the new directive, the Nepali foreign missions will verify these demands letters before they get final nod by the DoFE for receiving Nepali workers. The employing company will have to submit demand letter authenticated by the Notary Public, Chamber of Commerce and concerned government agency of the host nation.
The foreign mission will take 10 working days to verify the workers demand letter before forwarding it to the department for final enquiry. Besides assessing the demand letter verified by agencies of the destination country, the foreign mission would also gather information on situation of Nepali workers in the same company; basic salary; facilities, services and remunerations provided to workers; condition of work place, housing, health and security situations, according to Minister. In addition, the missions would make sure whether the company has been blacklisted and has the valid permission from local authority to obtain workers from Nepal. If required the embassy or other missions can also make field visits to the hosting company before granting the approval for recruiting Nepali workers.
The DoFE will verify and issue pre-permission to aspirant companies based on the approval of the foreign mission.
If the details in the demand letter submitted by the employer contradict with the demand letter approved by the missions or appear to be false, the department will not grant permission to recruiting agencies to hire workers.
According to Keshav Basyal, a migration expert, the new directive would also help in controlling the number of migration of unskilled manpower to these countries, where they are exploited.
“Recruiting agencies would get the contract from companies for supplying skilled or semi-skilled workers. For supplying maximum labourers through their agencies, they would even send unskilled labourers, who would be lowly paid and would work under vulnerable conditions,” said Basyal.