Since issues related to safe, reliable and dignified migration have surfaced time and again, the government has started homework to review the Foreign Employment Act 2007 to make it more contextual.
The Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security (MoLESS) has said that it will hold discussions with concerned stakeholders and the initial draft of the act will be given a final shape after incorporating relevant feedback. “We have started homework for a strong, reliable and labour friendly act,” said Gokarna Bista, minister for labour, employment and social security.
According to Minister Bista, the amended act will ensure that workers will not have to pay any fees to manpower agencies or the government while flying abroad for jobs. “The amended act will also guarantee the social security of migrant workers.”
Meanwhile, the existing act has a provision of taking service charge and promotional costs from migrant workers. “The Government of Nepal may, in relation to any specific country or company, specify the upper limit of amount, including the service fee and promotional costs that the institution can collect from each worker,” present act reads.
Speaking at a programme organised in the Capital today, Minister Bista stated that the new act will fulfil the gap between labour and
employer. “The government will reform the existing act to make it more labour friendly and also do away with the practice of middlemen
being involved in the foreign employment sector of the country.”
According to Bista, the act will address all the issues related to foreign employment from the time a worker starts the process to go for a foreign job till the time the respective migrant returns home. “The act will also put an end to discriminatory practices in the foreign
employment sector whereby Nepali workers are being paid less than workers from other countries.”
According to him, the act will also make sure to put an end to the increasing number of cases related to physical abuse and violence against workers in the destination countries. He added that the new act will ensure that the destination country guarantees the safety and
security of the migrants.
However, even though the MoLESS had earlier introduced the provision of free visa and free ticket to reduce the cost for migrant workers, its effective implementation is still lacking. The cost of migration, such as the charges, commissions and fees, including hidden expenses for foreign employment and labour permission, is still high.
There is a need to promote ethical recruitment and periodic monitoring of the implementation of foreign employment policies and plans, said Minister Bista.
Nepal has opened 110 countries for foreign employment but has inked bilateral labour agreements with only five countries — South Korea, Malaysia, Qatar, the UAE and Bahrain — so far.