Government to sign labour agreement with Malaysia

Kathmandu, July 25

The governments of Nepal and Malaysia have decided to ink a bilateral labour agreement.

Confirming that the Malaysian government has agreed to sign a labour agreement with Nepal, Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Security Gokarna Bista, said, “A labour agreement is crucial to ensure the rights and safety of Nepali workers.”

As Malaysia is one of the top labour destinations for Nepali workers, ‘governments of both the countries should work together to sign a labour agreement as soon as possible', according to the minister.

Although the two governments had shared the draft of memorandum of understanding for the labour agreement quite a while back, nothing concrete has materialised yet.

Following the Malaysian government's decision to close Immigration Security Clearance and One Stop Centre for Nepali migrant workers on May 21 as its operators face government action for levying additional charges, Nepali migrant labourers have been barred from obtaining work permit to Malaysia.

The valid visa fee for Malaysia is Rs 700. However, Nepali migrants were paying in excess of Rs 17,000 in the name of visa processing.

Although Malaysia happens to be a very popular destination for Nepali migrants, issues related to low payment and security and safety of workers there have been matters of concern over the years. The government aims to ensure good pay and work security for Nepali workers with a labour agreement.

Nepalis employed in Malaysia have time and again claimed they are not paid as per the agreement with their employers.

Seeking anonymity, one high-level government official informed that the government's probe has revealed that some companies were overcharging Nepali job-seekers in collusion with top officials at the Malaysian Embassy in Nepal and Nepali Embassy in Malaysia. “While they are trying to create pressure from all spheres to reopen the biometric health check up institutions, Nepal government has not paid any heed to them,” the official added.

Reportedly the human resources minister of Malaysia is also holding discussions with the government officials and manpower agencies here to seek a feasible solution so that the flow of Nepali migrants can be resumed.