March 15: The number of migrant workers leaving the country for foreign employment has dropped to zero after the government indefinitely stopped issuing foreign work permits amid coronavirus concerns.
The Department of Foreign Employment has ordered all its units not to issue labour permits following instruction from the High Level Committee to Prevent COVID-19 in this regard last Thursday.
Director General of the department Kumar Dahal confirmed that the government has stopped issuing work permits abroad until further notice.
The decision has also affected 55,000 labourers who have already acquired work permits or those who have returned home on leave.
The government is under intense pressure not to send migrant workers to its prime destinations like South Korea, Malaysia, Qatar, the UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait among others as the countries are reeling under the effects of the deadly COVID-19.
The demand for workers had significantly decreased before the government stopped issuing work permits to those labour destinations.
According to Nepal Association of Foreign Employment, the demand letter for Nepali migrant workers had plunged by 80 percent following the global outbreak of COVID-19 since the last few months.