Government Fails to Expedite Labour Agreements with European Countries

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Government Fails to Expedite Labour Agreements with European Countries

April 30: The government has made public its intentions to sign labour agreements with European countries, considering them as attractive destinations for foreign employment, but has so far signed such pacts with only three European countries.

The Ministry of Labour, Employment, and Social Security informed that the government has signed labor agreements with Britain, Germany, and Romania in Europe. As of now, Nepal has signed labor agreements with 12 countries including the three European countries, the ministry reported. Other major countries with labor agreements include those in the Gulf, Malaysia, South Korea, and Japan.

The government has expressed its intention to initiate labor agreements with more European countries. However, the government has not made tangible achievements yet.

Govinda Prasad Rijal, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Labour, Employment, and Social Security, stated that discussions are ongoing for labor agreements with Turkey, Portugal, Poland, Cyprus, Malta, and other countries. "We are working to submit the draft for the labor agreement through diplomatic channels," he added.

Preparations are being made to send Nepali workers to work in fields related to ships and cruises, particularly in Turkey. Officials indicate that the government is actively lobbying to send Nepalese workers to Cyprus, Poland, and other countries for employment in construction and agriculture sectors.

Despite signing labour agreements with some countries, government officials acknowledge challenges in properly facilitating the deployment of workers. "We have not been able to send workers to some countries as expected despite signing agreements. We are streamlining procedures to facilitate this process,” Rijal said.

Data reveals that Croatia, Malta, Cyprus, Poland, the UK, and other countries are major labor destinations for Nepalese workers in Europe. According to the Department of Foreign Employment, the number of workers migrating to these countries stood at 20,000 in the fiscal year 2078/79, which increased to 37,000 in 2079/80. As of mid-December of the current fiscal year, 23,655 Nepalis have obtained work permits and migrated to various European countries.

Experts emphasize that a significant number of Nepalis engage in labor migration to these countries, including those who initially travel on tourist visas or for study. They point out that the absence of labor agreements with some European countries is causing problems for many Nepali workers such as exploitation and difficulty securing employment.

Foreign employment expert Dr Ganesh Gurung states that the government should exert maximum effort to establish labor agreements with European countries through diplomatic channels.

“However, it appears that the government has not been sufficiently proactive in this regard," he said. Gurung believes that due to the government’s apathy, potential labor agreements with countries that could greatly benefit Nepal are being overlooked.

Britain became the first European country to sign a labor agreement with Nepal in August 2079, primarily focusing on recruiting Nepali nurses. Subsequently, agreements were signed with Germany and Romania in October 2080. Government officials report that Germany has yet to determine the sectors in which Nepali workers will be employed. Romania expressed the need for Nepali workers in construction, service, hospitality, and agriculture sectors. Currently, Nepali workers are being employed in Romania as security guards, drivers, chefs, construction workers, and in the readymade garment industry.

To reduce dependency on Gulf countries for foreign employment, the government established a task force under the coordination of former ambassador Uday Raj Pandey. The task force recommended exploring new destination countries, particularly in Europe, such as Portugal, the Czech Republic, Romania, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, and others, for Nepali labourers. The task force suggested that these countries could offer favorable opportunities for Nepali workers due to high demand in service, agriculture, and production sectors. It emphasized that the relatively strong economic status of European countries makes them potential new destinations for foreign employment. However, the government has not effectively implemented the task force's recommendations, with the report remaining gathering dust for an extended period.


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