KATHMANDU: The International Relations and Labour Committee (IRLC) of the Legislature-Parliament on Monday instructed the Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE) to implement its decision of sending workers at minimum cost to only the countries that have signed labour agreements with Nepal.
This means if MoLE strictly follows the panel’s direction, the government will not be able to implement ‘free visa and ticket’ provision while sending workers to major countries like Malaysia and Saudi Arabia that have not signed a labour pact yet.
Nonetheless, the meeting of the committee held today also hailed the decision of free visa and ticket and directed MoLE to include such provisions while signing the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with other labour destinations.
“In case of countries with whom MoU has not been inked, the government should sign it soon incorporating the decision of minimum cost to the workers,” according to the committee. The panel said MoLE should sign MoU with other labour destinations too, and not limit the provision of free visa and ticket only to seven countries.
So far, the government has allowed manpower agencies to send workers to 110 countries, and MoU on labour issues has been signed with countries like UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, South Korea for sending workers under (Employment Permit System) and with Japan to send industrial trainees.
Gulf countries — Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman — and Malaysia are the seven countries where the government has decided to send workers for foreign employment in free visa and ticket. MoLE officials said that they are making necessary preparations to sign the MoU with both major countries — Malaysia and Saudi Arabia — to supply general workers and individuals for domestic works at zero cost. They said that MoU signing had been delayed due to the April 25 quake.
Three weeks ago, MoLE had decided to implement the provision of free ticket and visa for outbound workers to seven destinations, allowing manpower agencies to collect maximum Rs 10,000 as service fee or promotional expense. MoLE has decided to implement the provision from July 6, despite objection from manpower agencies.
Amid controversy related to this provision, the labour committee today held discussion with Labour Minister Tek Bahadur Gurung and MoLE Secretary Bhola Prasad Shivakoti. The committee also instructed MoLE to enforce the decision while ensuring demand for Nepali workers does not decline or get diverted to other countries.
A version of this article appears in print on June 30, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.