Nepal | July 06, 2020

Malaysian crackdown opens door for fresh job-seekers from Nepal

Pushpa Raj Acharya
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Nepali migrant workers, Malaysia

Nepali migrant workers in Malaysia. Graphic: THT

Kathmandu, July 12

The Malaysian government’s move to crack down on illegal migrant workers since early this month has created an opportunity for fresh job-seekers in the Southeast Asian nation.

As the immigration department of Malaysia has announced harsh punishment for Malaysian employers, such as fines, imprisonment and whipping, along with detention of migrant workers, recruitment agencies in Malaysia have started seeking fresh job-seekers from source countries, including Nepal.

Foreign employment approval for Malaysia on the rise 

June 21 to 27 1,388
June 28 to July 4 1,989
July 5 to 11 3,264

As a result, the number of foreign job-seekers going to Malaysia from Nepal has increased more than two-fold compared to the figures before the crackdown on illegal workers began. A total of 3,264 foreign job-seekers obtained final approval for Malaysia from the Department of Foreign Employment in the last one week (between July 5 and 11) compared to around 1,400 during the week before the crackdown was initiated.

“Job demand in Malaysia had saturated, as immigrants there used to get work easily without valid work permits before the immigration department launched action against them,” explained Kumud Khanal, senior vice-president of the Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies. “The flow of Nepali foreign job-seekers to Malaysia has increased in recent weeks due to the prevailing tension in the Gulf region and the Malaysian government’s action against illegal immigrants.”

Citing the assumption of the Malaysian government, international media have reported that around 600,000 immigrants are working illegally in Malaysia.

“As the Malaysian government has tightened the noose around employers in Malaysia who hire illegal workers, they are now bound to seek workers with valid permits,” Khanal told THT.

“Crackdown on more undocumented workers will also create opportunities for Nepali foreign job-seekers in the future.”

Malaysia is among the most preferred labour destinations for Nepali outbound workers. Currently, around 500,000 Nepalis are working in Malaysia.

According to Mohan Adhikari, spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Employment, foreign job-seekers will be placed in their jobs in the destination country within one-and-a-half months after obtaining the final approval from DoFE. Malaysia has topped the list among the major labour destinations of Nepali foreign job-seekers, such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

A version of this article appears in print on July 13, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.

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