FEPB flans more support for migrant workers

Kathmandu, September 15

The government is looking into ways of increasing the use of Foreign Employment Welfare Fund to provide additional assistance to the migrant workers and their families. Support schemes will include bearing medical treatment costs of workers or their immediate family members and providing skill training to more individuals wishing to work in foreign job destinations, among others.

So far, the fund is basically being utilised to provide compensation to the families of workers who lose their lives abroad during the employment contract period and to individuals who suffer workplace injuries abroad. Due to lack of clarity on use of the fund and negligence of the government, workers and their families since long have been unable to receive other support from the fund, as mentioned in the foreign employment law.

In a bid to simplify the provisions for utilisation of the fund, the Foreign Employment Promotion Board (FEPB), which manages the fund, will come up with fund management criteria or implement a separate guideline within the current fiscal year.

“We are planning to provide additional support like medical treatment and skill training to more workers eyeing foreign employment,” said Raghu Raj Kafle, executive director of FEPB. As per him, to use the fund more effectively for the benefit of workers and their families, other options will also be explored.

As per the Foreign Employment Act 2007, the fund should be utilised for various purposes, including skill-oriented training to the workers going for foreign employment, bringing back dead bodies of workers, providing compensation to workers who suffer workplace injuries abroad, and reparation for families of migrant Nepalis who die aboard. Similarly, it can be utilised for launching employment-oriented programmes for returnee migrant workers and carrying out promotional activities related to foreign employment.

The resources of the fund, as per foreign employment rules, can also be used for educational development of the families of the migrant workers and establishment and operation of child care centre for children of women workers leaving the country for jobs. The fund was established for the social security and welfare of the workers leaving the country for employment through the legal channel and returnees and their families. The Act requires each worker leaving the country for employment to contribute Rs 1,000.

At present, the fund has resource of around Rs 3.15 billion. As per the annual plan of the FEPB, a total of 1,000 children will be benefiting through scholarship scheme in the current fiscal year, 2015-16. Kafle said that they have already decided to provide scholarships to children of migrant workers who died aboard and impart skill training to 10,000 individuals in the current fiscal year.

A total of 3,500 individuals benefited from the skill training last fiscal year. FEPB officials said that besides increasing support to migrant workers and their families, they are also working over a plan to reintegrate the returnees and help them become entrepreneurs here by putting the skills learnt during the course of foreign employment into use.