January 31: Foreign employment stakeholders have complained that the labour agreements reached with various countries were not implemented effectively by the Government of Nepal.
Although the government has signed labour agreement with Malaysia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other countries for supplying the labourers at zero cost, this provision is not being implemented, according to the stakeholders.
Speaking at a discussion programme entitled "recruitment advisor's progress and the role of stakeholder bodies in fair recruitment process" on Monday, they stressed on the effective implementation of the labour agreements. The General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT) has been conducting this programme in collaboration with the International Trade Union Confederation.
An assessment by labourers using the Recruitment Advisor shows that 98 per cent of the labourers had to pay the recruitment fees for foreign employment. Those labourers who paid fees had to pay Rs 100,000 per person on an average.
General Secretary of South Asian Regional Trade Union Council (SARTUC) Laxman Basnet said that the employers of the destination countries have shared that they have been paying the recruitment fees of the labourers while the foreign employment agencies in Nepal have been complaining that they were not getting the service fees from the employers and hence could not supply the labourers at nominal cost. Basnet demanded to find out the problem in such a scenario.
He said although the labourers are handed a receipt of payment of Rs 10,000 as recruitment fees, in practice they have to pay hundred thousand. It is difficult to raise voice against this unfair recruitment practice in the international forums for lack of evidence, he complained.
President of Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies (NAFEA) Rajendra Bhandari stressed on the need of making the service charge due to the manpower companies well-managed. Saying that the process of supplying the labourers was highly cumbersome, he pointed out the need of amending the clauses 15 to 19 of the Foreign Employment Act. Bhandari further said the provision of revoking the registration of the manpower agency failing to send 100 labourers in a year was wrong and called for amending this provision as well.
GEFONT president Binod Shrestha called for putting a stop to the unfair practice of charging hundred thousand rupees as fee from the labourers in violation of the provision of zero fees. Stating the form of exploitation has changed, he said those going abroad in the name of students were facing much exploitation in recent days.
Shrestha called for making the foreign employment well-managed and effective with the cooperation of all sides.
Project coordinator of ILO, Neha Chaudhary said the ILO has been collaborating with the trade unions for enhancing the access of labourers to information and justice. She said the ILO was also collaborating with NAFEA for reforming the code of conduct of the foreign employment agencies. ILO was also conducting studies on the recruitment process in Nepal in view of the dearth of such studies.
President of the National Network for Safe Migration, Hari Thapa underscored on cooperation and synergy among the stakeholder agencies.
South Asia Coordinator of Recruitment Advisor, Sunil Neupane shared that 2,244 Nepali labourers have so far evaluated the manpower companies whose service they have used in the Recruitment Advisor that commenced from 2017.
According to him, the Recruitment Advisor programme is also in operation in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka among other countries of South Asia. Information of European countries has also been started to incorporated in the Recruitment Advisory as the destination countries.