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Nepal, Japan move closer to ink labour pact

Owing to its reputation of being a safe and reliable destination for migrant workers, the government has started holding discussions with concerned Japanese authorities to sign a bilateral labour agreement.

The government has proposed to Japan to adopt a government-to-government (G2G) model to recruit Nepali migrant workers for various technical and non-technical jobs in Japan.

The Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security (MoLESS) has concluded that Japan can be an attractive labour destination for Nepali migrant workers as the country’s labour laws are worker-friendly.

“We have held many formal and informal discussions with the concerned Japanese officials to supply Nepali workers to the destination. We will soon finalise a memorandum of understanding and take further steps for a labour pact,”informed Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Security Gokarna Bista.

Minister Bista had formally proposed to Japanese Ambassador to Nepal Masashi Ogawa requesting Japan to follow a model similar to South Korea’s Employment Permit System (EPS) to recruit Nepali workers on April 4.

“We believe that the G2G model is the best option for supplying workers to Japan and it will also help strengthen the bilateral relationship and both countries will be able to gain maximum benefits,” Bista added.

Meanwhile, Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali departed for Japan on an official visit on Saturday. “We will be holding discussions with the concerned Japanese authorities regarding a labour agreement and I believe that my visit will create a clear base for a bilateral labour pact, among other issues,” Gyawali told The Himalayan Times.

According to Gyawali, the government will propose to Japan to provide technical skill-based training to Nepali youths so that they are capable of finding employment opportunities in the Japanese job market. “We have already agreed to conduct a labour market survey for suitable works for Nepali youths. After this visit, we will finalise the method and process of the study and make a concrete decision on the issue.”

Currently, Japanese companies recruit Nepali workers through various recruitment agencies. It has been alleged that the agencies select workers on the basis of political power play. Likewise, many people reportedly fly to Japan with fake documents every year.

“If we keep sending workers to Japan as per the current trend they will not benefit much. The Korean model has been largely successful and we should ink labour agreements with other destinations too according to the same model,” stated Minister Bista.

Due to the shrinking youth population, the Japanese government had earlier announced that it plans to hire semi-skilled and unskilled foreign workers in various sectors where there is a shortfall of manpower. Japan has announced that it will hire more than 500,000 foreign labourers in the nursing, shipbuilding and hotel as well as construction and agricultural industries by 2025.


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