Labour ministry denies involvement in circular

Kathmandu, February 8

The Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security (MoLESS) has claimed that it is not responsible for the decision about making work permit provision compulsory for Indian nationals who are working in Nepal.

As per the ministry, the decision was made by the Department of Labour and Occupational Safety without its knowledge. The department had issued a circular to all the labour offices on January 24 making work permit mandatory for Indian nationals working in Nepal. The circular was signed by Prashanta Sah, a section officer at the department.

Meanwhile, Sah has claimed that he issued the circular as per a directive from the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM).

The circular issued by the department had also mentioned that Indian citizens who are working without work permit will get such permit as soon as possible. The circular also stated that Indian nationals must mandatorily get such permit irrespective of the sector that they are working in.

According to MoLESS officials, the confusion regarding the decision was a result of miscommunication between the ministry and the department. As per the ministry, a Twitter user had twitted on OPMCM’s handle — @Hello_Sarkar — asking why Indian nationals working in Nepal did not require a work permit whereas people from other countries had to do so. The OPMCM in its reply had mentioned that it would look into the issue and also directed the Department of Labour and Occupational Safety to take necessary steps.

The department, meanwhile, without coordinating with the ministry had issued the circular.

Narayan Regmi, spokesperson for MoLESS, clarified the circular issued by the department was not a decision taken by the ministry. “Nepal and India have historical ties and there are many treaties between the two countries to address such issues so there is no reason for making work permit compulsory for Indian nationals.”

The ministry has said that it will launch an investigation into the issue.