FEPB seeks help in exploring labour market

KATHMANDU: Foreign Employment Promotion Board (FEPB) is planning to mobilise Non-Resident Nepalis (NRNs) to explore new labour markets and protect Nepali migrant workers rights in the destination country. The board is seeking NRNs' support in searching new labour destinations, said undersecretary Mukunda Adhikari.

"We want Non-Resident Nepalis Association's (NRNA) support at national and grass-root level," he said during a programme organised jointly by FEPB and UNIFEM today.

The board wants to mobilise NRNA in organising labour fairs, cultural fair and anti-trafficking campaign in major labour destinations like Gulf countries and Malaysia. The NRNA has presence in 55 countries around the globe.

"NRNA is ready to support government efforts in exploring new labour destinations," said Dev Man Hirachan, president of the NRN. Nepal's major destination countries are Gulf states of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar and Malaysia where 90 per cent of Nepali migrant workers are working.

Hirachan informed Nepali officials about increasing demand of caregivers in Japan. "If we can send trained caregivers to Japan it can be a good opportunity for us," he said. Japan is currently looking for caregivers for its old-aged population that are over 10 million. "Nepal can be a source country," he added.

Likewise, NRNA officials in the Gulf countries and Malaysia have suggested FEPB to organise labour fair and cultural programmes to create awareness in the people about cultural differences of Nepal and destination countries. "It will help reduce violence against migrant workers," Adhikari said quoting NRNA officials. Gulf countries are particularly venerable to women migrant workers. "Thus, government has not been encouraging Nepali women to go to these countries," he said adding that safety was the major concern. "If the government of destination country guarantee of their safety we will open it from tomorrow," Adhikari assured. Though the government is not encouraging women to go to work in Gulf countries around 40 to 60 Nepali women are reaching there via illegal routes everyday. Around 2,00,000 Nepali migrant women are believed to be working in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar but only 14,000 are recorded in the Department of Foreign Employment.

Remittance from 2.6 million migrant workers is helping Nepali economy since last two decades. Last year, they had send over Rs 209 billion remittance that is 20 per cent of gross domestic production (GDP).

In the interaction, NRNA officials had shown their interest in establishing honorary consulate in the labour destination countries. "Some official asked for honorary consulate for better service," Adhikari informed adding that the board alone can not decide on the issue. "We will forward it to the cabinet," he promised.

Meanwhile, the board has proposed to give 'green channel' and 'VIP' treatment to those who support the drive.