Nepal, Malaysia start talks on labour pact

JWG meeting may finalise reopening of Malaysian market for Nepali migrant workers

Kathmandu, September 10

Against the backdrop of the government failing to resume issuing work permits to Malaysia-bound Nepali workers, a two-day joint working group (JWG) meeting of officials from both countries started in Kuala Lumpur today.

“We are hoping that the meeting will facilitate and pave the way to give momentum to the stalled process of labour supply to Malaysia,” said Narayan Regmi, spokesperson for the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security (MoLESS).

As per him, government officials of both nations presented their respective agendas in the meeting.

Although both the countries had reached a bilateral labour agreement in October, some technical issues had remained to be finalised. The meeting is also scheduled to review the progress made so far in the course of implementation of the pact. Moreover, some uncertainties and modality of jobs in Malaysia would also be made clear. “The challenges in implementation of the pact would be resolved during the meeting,” Regmi added.

The seven-member delegation from Nepal is being led by Ram Prasad Ghimire, head of Labour Relation and Social Protection Section at MoLESS and comprises representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Law and Nepali Embassy in Malaysia.

On June 4, Nepal had held a meeting with Malaysian Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran in Geneva on the sidelines of the International Labour Conference. During the meeting, officials of both the nations had discussed on how the pending tasks related to the implementation of the labour agreement could be finalised at the earliest.

The earlier agreement that ensured recruitment of Nepali workers in Malaysia at zero cost has not come into effect owing to the lack of a proper mechanism and structure to facilitate recruiting process. As per the agreement, both governments had agreed to call a meeting of the JWG to review the progress and plan on future steps to be taken.

On July 6, the government had finalised 122 health check-up centres for migrants going to Malaysia. These centres, however, have to receive authentication from the Malaysian government before being able to commence their service. The government officials believe the Malaysian government will approve the finalised health check-ups firms during the JWG meeting.

The supply of Nepali workers to Malaysia has been halted since May last year after the government cracked down on Immigration Security Clearance and One Stop Centre that had been levying additional charges on Nepali migrants.