Kathmandu, May 18
Nepali job-seekers aspiring to go to Malaysia for foreign employment have been left in the lurch as all the 39 health check-up institutions that had been licensed to provide bio-metric health check-up service have closed down their facilities today for an indefinite period.
The 39 concerned institutions have resorted to this measure as a protest against the government’s decision to open up the health check-up service for all medical institutions that have been registered with the government to provide such service.
The Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Security (MoLESS), Gokarna Bista, on Thursday had taken the decision to allow all 235 registered health institutions along with governmental hospitals to provide health check-up service for migrant workers.
Minister Bista had also said that the Malaysian companies — VNL, Mygram and One Stop Centre (OSC) — which have been taking extra charges from migrant workers seeking jobs in Malaysia will be asked to close down.
“We are very happy with the decision that the government took on Thursday as it is in the interest of all migrant workers who are seeking employment opportunities in Malaysia,” said Rohan Gurung, president of Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies.
“We had been raising our voice since long to put an end to this monopoly of a few bio-metric health check-up institutions for migrant workers,” he added. “I would suggest the government to resolve this problem through the
diplomatic channel with the Malaysian government.”
MoLESS has written to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to talk with the Malaysian government regarding the additional cost that Nepali migrant workers have been compelled to pay since long. Nepali workers are compelled to pay an additional Rs 9,500 to the Malaysian companies, which do not have valid authority to work in Nepal.
The company named Mygram, which takes online applications from migrant workers for medical check-up charges 125 Malaysian ringgit from each migrant worker. The company is not allowed to charge migrant workers and it is illegal, according to Secretary of the Labour Ministry Mahesh Dahal.
Meanwhile, One Stop Centre had been involved in collecting passports of migrant workers to apply for visas. OSC used to charge Rs 2,800 plus value added tax per passport. Similarly, the other company named GSC defines its work as migration security clearance and had been charging Rs 3,200 from each migrant worker illegally.
One government official, on the condition of anonymity, informed that the MoLESS has already written to the Ministry of Home Affairs to take legal action against any health institution that refuses to provide service to Nepali job-seekers.
“We hope the Nepali job-seekers inconvenienced by the strike of the health institutions will show patience as the government has taken the recent decision for their benefit,” the official added.
A version of this article appears in print on May 19, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.