Nearly 15 months after the government halted the supply of migrant workers to the Malaysian labour market, the government has formally reopened the service and started issuing work permits to service seekers from today.
The government had stopped issuing work permits to Malaysia-bound workers on May 16 stating that some private agencies had been levying extra charges from such migrants in the name of health and visa processing.
According to Ram Prasad Ghimire, head of Labour Relations and Social Protection Section at the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security ” Both the Nepali and Malaysian governments have agreed to supply and receive migrant workers as per the earlier labour pact, which was signed on October 30 last year”.
During the second joint working group’s meeting held in Putrajaya of Malaysia from September 10 to 12, Nepal and Malaysia had both agreed to reopen the labour supply. In the meeting, Ghimire and Malaysia’s Puan Betti Hassan, secretary of the country’s human resources ministry had signed the new agreement.
As per the agreement, in the first phase, the existing 36 health check-up firms and visa processing companies will be allowed to process the documentation of migrant workers.
To end the syndicate in health check-up and visa processing system, the government had also finalised 122 health check-up centres for migrants going to Malaysia on July 6. These centres, however, have yet to receive authentication from the Malaysian government.
As per Ghimire, Malaysian government officials will visit Nepal in the first week of November to examine the 122 health check-ups institutions and will finalise the exact number. If the officials are satisfied with the infrastructure of the institutions, then they will instal their biometric system there.
Rohan Gurung, president of Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies, has said the agreement will assure employment opportunities for Nepali migrants in Malaysia. “However, the government has not been able to ink a pact which would have assured the number of Nepali workers that the Malaysian government would receive.”
“We had recommended the government to sign an agreement that mentions the number of workers that Malaysia would hire every year but the government has always neglected our genuine concerns and suggestions,” he added.
As per the agreement, employer companies from Malaysia one of the preferred destinations of Nepali workers will foot the bill of recruitment service, two-way airfare, visa fee, health check-up fee and security screening fee.
Malaysian firms will pay the salaries of workers through banking channel and will have to deposit wages on the seventh day of the month. The employer firms will also have to bear all the expenses related to accommodation during the two-year contract period. The agreement also states that the Malaysian government will provide equal treatment to Nepali migrant workers with regard to health insurance, accident insurance, social security benefits, security and other accidents.