Kathmandu, February 22
A majority of foreign companies operating in Nepal have been found to be violating the country’s labour laws, especially in terms of employing workers.
As per the Labour Act, the number of foreign employees that a foreign company operating in Nepal hires cannot exceed five per cent of the company’s total number of employees. However, companies involved especially in hydropower and airline sectors have been violating these rules, according to Mahesh Prasad Dahal, secretary at the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security.
“We have received many complaints from companies and individuals that a few foreign firms have been hiring more foreign personnel than the designated ceiling, hence we have planned to monitor the situation,” Dahal said. “Such foreign companies will be penalised.”
Labour guidelines clearly mention that ‘except in cases where work permit is not required due to diplomatic immunity or any agreement reached with the government of Nepal, no employer may hire foreign workers exceeding five per cent of the total number of workers necessary for its enterprise’.
As per the guidelines, if a foreign firm is found to be violating the foreign employee quota then the government reserves the right to order such firms to remove extra employees from work.
The guidelines also state that if foreign firms need to increase the number of employees they first need to publish a notice in the media. If the concerned foreign firm is unable to find adequate number of employees it is looking for in the domestic labour market then it will be allowed to hire
foreign workers after taking a written consent from the Department of Labour.
As per legal provision, foreign firms operating in Nepal must get government approval before deploying more than five per cent foreigners.
Uddhav Prashad Rijal, spokesperson for Department of Labour, said such problems had been noticed in multinational, airline, hydropower and joint venture foreign companies. “In the aviation sector, foreigners are working as pilots and aircraft maintenance engineers, while in other sectors foreigners work as electro-mechanical and hydro-mechanical engineers, high-voltage transmission line engineers and railways engineers.”
“This issue has surfaced after we decided to strictly implement the law related to hiring foreign personnel,” said Rijal.
According to the latest report made public by the department, from 17 July 2018 to January 14, 452 foreign nationals took approval to work in Nepal.
He added that the government would look for a legal remedy before taking legal action against the companies employing foreigners exceeding the quota.
A version of this article appears in print on February 23, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.