New directives for rescue, repatriation endorsed


The government has prepared new directives for the rescue and repatriation of Nepalis stranded abroad due to the global coronavirus contagion.

The directives titled ‘Rescue and repatriation of Nepali workers stranded abroad due to coronavirus’ which was prepared by the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security (MoLESS) was endorsed by the Cabinet meeting held today.

As per the new guidelines, the government will bear half or all of the expenses depending on the situation for the certified workers. If a worker has lost his/her job in less than a year then the government will bear all the costs of the respective worker.

Similarly, the government will bear 50 per cent of the cost for workers who have lost their jobs after a year within the contract period.

Workers who return at their own expense after June 15 but meet the government’s criteria will also get their money back for which an application has to be submitted at the Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE) for redemption.

The DoFE will forward the applications to the Nepali embassies and missions of the concerned countries for further study and investigation.

The embassies will then certify and send back the applications within three days after which the Foreign Employment Promotion Board (FEPB) will refund the money to the workers.

As per the directives, the government will bear the expenses, including air ticket, health check-up and transportation of the workers who meet the set criteria. The stranded workers who have gone for foreign employment by obtaining labour permit will be rescued and repatriated through the government fund.

The directives have also stated that the government will have to bear the expenses of the workers who return home after losing their jobs due to the coronavirus infection even though they contract period has still not expired.

The government will also bear the expenses of the workers in the repatriation centre who have not received return ticket and other expenses from the destination country or employer or who have been jailed on criminal charges within the labour approved period.

Priority will also be given to workers who have to come to the country to perform the final rites of a relative, those who are pregnant, disabled workers and those unable to work due to health problems.

According to MoLESS, workers must submit an application to the diplomatic mission of the concerned country for rescue and repatriation.

The directives state that after the application is submitted the diplomatic mission and the Nepal-based manpower firm must take the initiative to provide the services, facilities and return ticket to the worker as per the employment contract from the concerned employer.

The details of the workers who need financial assistance should be verified and sent to the secretariat of the board through Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For the rescue of such workers, the manpower firm should also take the initiative and submit the details of the initiative to the department.

A committee will be formed to monitor the implementation of the directive. The committee, to be convened by the Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security, will have a joint secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, director general of DoFE, a representative of the Human Rights Commission and a non-government representative as its members.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on June 30, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.