Hopes over JITCO may get dashed

KATHMANDU: Nepali youths have already started taking about Japan. They are dreaming about fat salaries and sophisticated lifestyle after returning from Nepal. But, the Japanese International Training Cooperation Organisation (JITCO) has not attracted experts or foreign employment agencies who know about it.

“We are not expecting much,” said Madan Mahat, a foreign employment agency owner. He pointed out two causes for it. First, Nepali foreign employment agencies do not have knowledge about the JITCO process. Another, Japan is already hard hit by the global economic meltdown.

In the context of economic crisis and efficiency of Nepali foreign employment agencies, only a few of the 168 selected agemcies can get success in sending Nepali youths for industrial training in Japan. “It all depends on how much we explore the market there,” said Mahat.

Labour expert Dr Chiranjivi Nepal agreed with Mahat saying, “I am not sure how the foreign employment agencies will handle it. At best, there won’t be more than 25 agencies who can make it.”

Actually, JITCO is industrial training and not foreign employment like many Nepalis think. JITCO offers a year’s training and two years of industrial internship in 62 professions among six sectors. Under the JITCO process, training is provided only to those who are working in listed professions and whose training would benefit the sender country.

Knowledge of Japanese language is a prerequisite for JITCO. Many youths have started learning Japanese language and culture at the Japanese language institutes in Kathmandu valley. Will they all get success? The JITCO system says, “No.” According to the JITCO website, the selection process is time-consuming and of a very highest scientific level. The foreign employment agencies have to explore the Japanese labour market and hardsell themselves to elicit demand from Japan.

Getting demands is not easy. There are strict restrictions for Japanese companies against allow trainees and interns. A company with less than 50 employees can take 3 trainees, those with 100 employees can take 6 while those with 200 employees may take 10 and those with 300 employees may take 15. After receiving the call, foreign employment agencies will have to search for industrial workers in Nepal.

JITCO allows 25 per cent of trainees from outside industries of the demand of each company. After that, JITCO officers will hold exam for trainees on the basis of their dedication to work, knowledge of Japanese language and culture and their medical history.

“It will not be easy for the government and agencies to handle the JITCO process,” said labour expert Dr Chiranjivi Nepal. The selection of 168 foreign employment agencies is just the beginning of a difficult task, he added.

“For success, stakeholders must work hard. It is not like blue-collar workers going to Malaysia or the Gulf,” he pointed out.