Service fee for migrants going to Sweden, Malta fixed at Rs 10,000

Kathmandu, August 29                        

The Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE) has finalised the service charge that can be taken by foreign employment agencies while sending Nepali migrant workers to two European nations — Sweden and Malta.

As per the recommendation of the Foreign Employment Promotion Board (FEPB), Labour and Employment Minister Farmullha Mansur approved service charge on August 17.

According to Joint Secretary of MoLE and coordinator of the fee recommendation committee, Tej Raj Pandey, if foreign employment agencies are able to bring free visa and free ticket, they can charge Rs 10,000 from migrant workers going to Sweden and Malta as service fee.

“If Nepali agents are able to bring labour demand officially then they can take only the nominal charge that has been set, which is similar to what migrant workers who are going to Malaysia and the Gulf nations pay as service charge,” he informed.

As per the decision of the ministry, manpower agencies have to assure that migrant workers who leave the country for jobs to Europe must get a monthly salary of $550. “This sum does not include food and accommodation costs,” Pandey added.

Though the ministry has finalised the service charge, officials at MoLE are not convinced that the agents will take only the nominal fixed amount from migrant workers. “We have seen examples of the government rules like the ‘free visa and free ticket’ provision not being implemented when migrant workers are sent to Malaysia and the Gulf,” an official said on condition of anonymity. “I won’t be surprised if workers are charged Rs five lakh for jobs in Sweden and Malta and the

government does not have the capacity to actually regulate it.”

Though the government has approved the service charge, the employment agents are against the decision of the MoLE. Chairperson of Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies Rohan Gurung has said that they should have the right to charge at least a month’s salary as service charge.

“There are agents who have brought labour demand from Sweden and Malta five months back but due to the delay in the approval of the service charge the agents have not been able to send any worker yet,” he said.

The government has already opened both countries as possible labour markets for Nepali migrant workers.