Roll out free visa, free ticket scheme: SC

Kathmandu, January 2

The Supreme Court (SC) has directed the government to implement the free-visa, free-ticket scheme, which was introduced for Nepali workers bound for Malaysia and six major labour destinations in the Gulf.

A divisional bench of justices Purshottam Bhandari and Kedar Prasad Chalise today issued the order, directing the government to formulate necessary laws and policies to implement the scheme as early as possible.

The government had enforced the free-visa, free-ticket scheme for Nepalis seeking employment opportunities in Malaysia and the Gulf in July 2015, amid widespread criticism from the recruiting agencies. But the government has not been able to introduce it. This prompted the Law and Policy Forum for Social Justice (LAPSOJ) to file a case at the apex court in August 2017. The LAPSOJ had moved the court demanding implementation of the free-visa, free-ticket scheme for workers leaving for labour destinations in the Gulf and Malaysia.

A parliamentary committee study report prepared in August 2017 had also concluded that none of the migrant worker had benefitted from the scheme since its introduction in 2015.

Under the scheme, outbound Nepali workers are only required to bear the cost only of training and health check-up and pay minimum service charge to recruiting agencies before leaving for seven countries—Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman.