KATHMANDU: The government is sending additional labour attachés in four countries absorbing majority of Nepali migrants. After the new appointments, Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will have two labour attachés each from next fiscal.

At present, the labour destinations have one labour attaché each. As a part of preparation, the Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE) has called for its eligible staffers to submit their applications to work as labour attachés.

A state minister-level meeting of MoLE had decided to appoint additional labour attachés in the four countries, on Monday.

MoLE had started the appointment process after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked it to send additional attachés based on the decision of the Cabinet a month ago. Two under secretary-level officials will be appointed to work as labour attachés in Qatar and the UAE, while a section officer-level labour attaché will be sent to Consulate General of Nepal, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, according to the MoLE. Likewise, an official of section officer rank will be deputed as a labour attaché for Malaysia.

“Additional labour attachés are being sent to major destinations to make the Nepali diplomatic missions there more effective in responding to the issues related to Nepali workers there,” said Buddhi Bahadur Khadka, spokesperson for MoLE.

He said that the appointment of new labour attachés would increase the efficiency of Nepali missions in respective countries in dealing with activities like demand letter attestation and rescue of workers facing problems.

MoLE plans to complete the selection process within a month and send the selected officials to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for orientation before posting them in the respective countries.

The Foreign Employment Act 2007 requires the government to appoint labour attachés in every country that has 5,000 or more Nepali workers. Similarly, it has a provision of appointing a female officer as labour attaché in countries hosting a minimum of 1,000 Nepali women workers.

As per the Department of Foreign Employment, from fiscal year 2010-11 to first 10 months of current fiscal year 2014-15, altogether 576,634 individuals have left for Malaysia for foreign employment. During the same period, Qatar absorbed 547,476 Nepali workers, while Saudi Arabia and the UAE took in 421,254 and 258,756 workers, respectively.

Amid increased workload, Nepali embassies, too, had been asking the MoLE to send additional labour attachés, as per Khadka. So far, the government has appointed one labour attaché each in eight countries — Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, South Korea, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman.

Meanwhile, the MoLE is also replacing labour attachés who are currently working in South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar. MoLE will send under secretary-level officials as labour attachés for Nepali embassies in South Korea and Saudi Arabia. Officials applying for either replacement or fresh recruitment of labour attachés should have basic experience of working for one year in the MoLE or the agencies under it.