Kathmandu, December 21
Owing to its reputation of being a safe and reliable destination for migrant workers, the government has started formal negotiations with Japan to supply Nepali workers.
Earlier, the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security (MoLESS) had concluded that Japan could be an attractive labour destination for Nepali migrant workers as its labour laws are worker-friendly.
“We have conducted a series of discussions with the concerned Japanese authorities to supply Nepali workers to the destination,” said Mahesh Prasad Dahal, secretary at MoLESS. According to him, Nepali workers could start flying to Japan by April next year.
Earlier, the Japanese government had formally announced that it would allow Japanese firms to hire workers from nine countries including Nepal and had changed its existing laws as well. As per the new provision, the Japanese government will provide residence card to the migrant workers which will facilitate them to open a bank account and move around freely within the country, among others.
Meanwhile, the government had proposed to Japan to adopt a government-to-government (G2G) model to recruit Nepali
migrant workers for various technical and non-technical jobs in Japan in September. “We will soon finalise a memorandum of understanding and take further steps for a labour pact,” informed Dahal.
Earlier, on April 4, Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Security Gokarna Bista had formally proposed to Japanese Ambassador to Nepal Masashi Ogawa requesting Japan to follow a model similar to South Korea’s Employment Permit System (EPS) to recruit Nepali workers.
Meanwhile, Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali during his official visit to Japan on November 18 had also
discussed about a bilateral labour agreement.
At that time, Gyawali had proposed to Japan to provide technical skill-based training to Nepali youths so that they are capable of finding employment opportunities in the Japanese job market.
Moreover, Nepal and Japan have already agreed to conduct a labour market survey for suitable works for Nepali youths. The procedure to be adopted to send Nepali youths to Japan for employment is under discussion.
Currently, Japanese companies recruit Nepali workers through various recruitment agencies. It has been alleged that the agencies select workers on the basis of political power play. Likewise, many people reportedly fly to Japan with fake documents every year.
“If we keep sending workers to Japan as per the current trend they will not benefit much. So we must follow the Korean model, which has been largely successful. The government has already started homework to send workers to Japan as per the Korean model,” informed Dahal.
Due to the shrinking youth population, the Japanese government had earlier announced that it plans to hire semi-skilled and unskilled foreign workers in various sectors where there is a shortfall of manpower.
Japan has announced that it will hire more than 500,000 foreign labourers in the nursing, shipbuilding and hotel as well as construction and agricultural industries by 2025.
A version of this article appears in print on December 22, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.