The Department of Foreign Employment (DoFe) has not issued any new permit for wokers going to Malaysia and Kuwait in the last eight months of the current fiscal year 2020/21 due to a lack of demand from these two countries.
Malaysia and Kuwait were top foreign employment destinations for Nepali migrant workers until last year.
Chhatra Shah, Spokesperson of Foreign Employment Office at Tahachal under the DoFE, said there has not been any demand from these two countries because of Covid-19.
Malaysia is allowing the re-entry of migrant of workers only in sectors which have been less affected by COVID.
Malaysia had imposed a ban on arrivals of foreign workers following a surge in COVID-19 cases last year. Along with Malaysia, other Gulf countries Qatar, Kuwait and Dubai had also imposed restrictions on arrivals of foreign migrant worker due to the pandemic’s economic fallout.
Following a sharp rise in the number of coronavirus cases in labor receiving countries, the DoFE had also stopped issuing permits from mid March in the last year.
However, the DoFE in September last year started to issue permits to workers going to those countries deemed safe for travel due to a decline in Covid-19 cases. A total of 1,542 workers received the work permit in the month of Ashoj (between mid September and mid October) last year, up from 198 workers in the previous month Bhadra (between mid August and mid September). There has been a gradual increase in the number of new permits issued to workers seeking foreign employment as many destination countries reopen their labor markets amid a decline in Covid-19 cases and rollout of vaccines.
But, Malaysia and Kuwait are yet to welcome new workers from Nepal in this fiscal year.
“We have received reports that talks are about to be initiated from April to resume the flow of migrant workers in Kuwait. However, there is not any update or development regarding Malaysia taking in new migrant workers,” said Shah.
The department has issued only re-new permits and individual regularized permits to Malaysia and Kuwait. According to the DoFE, it has provided five individual regularized permits to Malaysia while only one legalized permit has been issued to Kuwait in the last eight months of the current fiscal year.
Malaysia and Kuwait has witnessed a decline in the number of foreign employment by 91.1% and 86.8% respectively in the last seven months of the fiscal year, according to the report published by Nepal Rastra Bank. 2,744 workers bound to Malaysia had received permits for legalization in the first seven months of the current fiscal year, down from a total of 30,925 workers who received both legalization and new permits in the corresponding period of the last fiscal year 2019/20.
1012 workers received permits for renewed entry to Kuwait in the current fiscal year compared to 7,677 workers who went to Kuwait in the same period of the last fiscal year.
According to Nepal Migration Report, 2020 published by the Department of foreign Employment, Malaysia holds the third position in terms of share of Nepali workers. Along with Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kuwait are top foreign destinations for Nepali migrants.