DoFE burns midnight oil to curb sector fraud

KATHMANDU: The Nepali foreign employment sector is plagued with large-scale fraud and the fiscal year 2008-09 was no exception in this regard. According to data of the Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE), 865 cases of fraud were registered with the department in 2008-09 claiming compensation equivalent to Rs 525.17 million.

Of the 865 cases registered with DoFE, 506 (58.49 per cent) pertained to individual fraud and 359 (41.51 per cent) related to organizational fraud. The average number of fraud cases registered with DoFE was 72 per month — 42 individual and 30 organizational — in 2008-09.

DoFE settled 423 cases — 48.90 per cent of the registered cases — last year and arranged for Rs 154.25 million compensation to people cheated by individuals or outsourcing agencies. Though DoFE wants to settle more cases it could not do so due to insufficient proof provided by complainants, said DoFE director Uma Shankar Joshi. “We cannot do anything if we don’t get proof,” he said.

“We are concered over fraud in the foreign employment process but we alone cannot do much,” said Joshi. He urged people to be conscious while dealing with foreign employment agencies. “Ask for payment receipts, take home a copy of the labour contract with you and always deal in the office,” he suggested.

In individual fraud, DoFE managed to settle 312 cases and refunded Rs 127.58 million to the victims whereas 100 cases were solved tthrough negotiations. The department has filed 94 cases with compensation claim of Rs 120.18 million in 2008-09. Fraud in foreign employment process is gradually turning from organizational crime to individual-based. “We are watching the trend and working to minimize the damage,” Joshi said.

The organisational sector has not become responsible yet. DoFE has registered 359 cases of fraud by outsourcing agencies with compensation claim of Rs 173.25 million. Of the 359 cases, the department has managed to solve 111 cases with compensation equivalent to Rs 26.76 million last year.

DoFE and Foreign Employment Promotion Board (FEPB) are working together to stop unethical and unlawful practices by outsourcing agencies. Both sections have urged the people to help in this. “Without the people’s help we cannot do much,” said Joshi. This year, the budget has also targeted to reduce fraud in foreign employment by improving state mechanisms. “Fraudulent activities related to foreign employment will be strictly controlled in collaboration with the private sector,” the budget has promised.

Facts and figures

Fraud in 2008-09 Individual Organisational

Cases registered 506 (Rs 351.91m) 359 (Rs 173.25m)

Cases solved 312 (Rs 127.58m) 111 (Rs 26.67m)

Cases in court 94 (Rs 120.18m) not applicable

Case withdraw 100 (Rs 103.42m) not applicable

Source: Department of Foreign Employment, 2008-09