Labour supply to Malaysia yet to resume despite bilateral pact

Kathmandu, January 1

Though it has been more than two months that Nepal inked the labour agreement with Malaysia, the outflow of Nepali migrant workers to the Southeast Asian nation is still uncertain.

As the Nepal-Malaysia technical committee, which was formed to devise an effective mechanism to implement the labour agreement, has not been able to suggest a concrete implementing mechanism of the agreement, Nepali migrants are still barred from travelling to Malaysia since the last seven months.

This delay in resuming the outflow of Nepali workers to Malaysia has not only affected Nepali workers but has given an opportunity to different

agencies who have been lobbying the government to again be involved in the visa process for Malaysia-bound Nepali workers.

The supply of Nepali workers to Malaysia has been halted since May after the Nepal government cracked down on Immigration Security Clearance and One Stop Centre that had been levying additional charges on Nepali migrant workers. Since then, the government has not been issuing work permits to Nepali migrant workers aspiring to go to Malaysia.

Labour Secretary Mahesh Dahal has said that implementing the memorandum of understanding on labour pact is at the moment more in the hands of the Malaysian government. “We have been waiting for the standards for medical check-up and visa processing from the Malaysian government. However, related government agencies in Malaysia have not responded to our concern.”

As per Dahal, the government will publish a notice soon calling interested firms to operate a medical centre and visa centre for Malaysia-bound migrant workers once the Malaysian authorities finalise the standard of these institutions. “The outflow of Nepali workers to Malaysia will resume only

after necessary standards are prepared and the medical centre and visa centre have been established,” he informed.

The agreement that was signed between Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Security Gokarna Bista and Malaysian Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran on October 29 states that the employer companies in Malaysia will have to bear recruitment service charges, two-way airfare, visa fee, health check-up fee, security screening and levy charges, among others. The concerned Nepal-Malaysia technical committee is expected to finalise necessary groundwork, including other legal documents to capitalise on these provisions.

Meanwhile, Nepali recruiting agencies have been threatening that they will not supply workers to Malaysia citing that the government had incorporated various provisions in the labour pact with Malaysia without consulting them.