June 4: The government has started issuing labour permit for foreign employment after a halt of three and half months. Migrant workers who had returned to Nepal during their holidays and those, have contract duration remaining and those already cleared the processes for foreign employment before the lockdown will be allowed to go abroad after following the Covid-19 safety protocols.
Earlier, meeting of Covid 19 Crisis Management Centre (CCMC) held on June 21 had agreed with Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security (MoLESS) in principle to formulate safety protocols for foreign employment.
According to the Labour Office at Tahachal, those who have their contracts renewed and duration of visas extended will be provided the foreign employment permits. It has started distributing permits from Thursday. According to Umesh Basnet, chief of Labor Office, labour permit issuance resumed immediately after the office received letter from MoLESS. “We have started issuing labor permits for the countries which have been permitted for foreign employment by the government. However, new labour permits will not be issued right now,” said Basnet.
Though the Foreign Employment Department have started issuing permits smoothly, it is difficult for the migrant workers to travel due to suspension on international flight. However, they can travel if the government arranges chartered flights.
The High-Level Committee for Prevention and Control of Coronavirus had directed to suspend issuance of labour permits on March 12.
The resumption of issuance of labour permits came after many countries opened their industrial and business sectors shut down during the worldwide lockdown. Before lockdown, around 5,000 migrant workers had returned to Nepal for their holidays.
“Because of the Covid-19, currently, only 100,000 to 150,000 migrant workers are in the situation to go abroad,” said Kumar Dahal, director general of Department of Labour.
However, recruitment companies have expressed their displeasure about the resumption of labour permit issuance. Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies (NAFEA), responded that government has haphazardly made the decision. “The risk of coronavirus transmission has not minimized yet. The migrant workers will get into trouble if the destination country doesn’t allow them to enter,” said Bishnu Gaire, president of NAFEA.