Kathmandu, April 23
The latest available data at the Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE) reveal that the number of complaints lodged by Nepali migrants has gone down in the first nine months of this year compared to the same period last year.
That’s good news, right? Not really.
“If we go through the data on a surface level, indeed the number of complaints has declined this year, however, the truth is the number of people going abroad has also declined,” said Bhisma Kumar Bhusal, director general of the department.
In the nine-month period of the current fiscal year 2018-19, the department received a total of 1,490 complaints from migrants. Of them, 589 complaints were filed by people who went abroad through individual process while 901 complaints were lodged by those who went abroad via manpower firms.
In the corresponding period of the previous fiscal, the department received a total of 1,587 complaints, of which, 818 were filed by migrants who had gone abroad via individual process and 769 complaints by those who went abroad via manpower channels.
But then, a total of 166,462 people received labour approval from the department in the first nine months of this fiscal compared to 222,266 in the same period of the previous fiscal.
Bhusal further said that the government has decentralised the authority of handling certain issues of migrants from this year. So, the department no longer has the record of small matters that can be sorted out by the local governments or the district administration offices, he added.
In terms of addressing the migrant workers’ issues, he admitted that the government’s efforts have yet to yield effective results.
“The government has brought stricter policies, and easier access to information should have significantly reduced the number of complaints,” he said. “But that has not happened and the nature of problems that Nepali migrants are facing continues to be similar like in the past.”
As per Bhusal, the number of complaints regarding migrants not getting job placement as promised by the manpower companies is high. Meanwhile, in the case of people going abroad via individual process, the department is receiving a large number of complaints about being duped by fraudsters who promise to send them abroad for work.
“These are the two major issues facing foreign job-seekers. Other complaints are mostly related to wages, accommodations and crimes,” Bhusal further added.
According to him, some of the issues are settled by the department itself, while a few are forwarded to the court. As stated by the department, a total of 101 cases have been filed at the court in the first nine months of the fiscal. The court has recovered Rs 135 million of the victims.
Meanwhile, in the cases settled by the department itself, the victims had claimed Rs 555 million, of which the department recovered a total of Rs 82 million.
A version of this article appears in print on April 24, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.