SAARC members to set common standards on labour migration

Kathmandu, May 3

Member states of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation have joined hands to set minimum common standards on labour migration, that would include information regarding working conditions, working hours, leave and vacation time and social security of workers.

A consultative workshop on ‘SAARC plan of action for cooperation on matters related to migration’ that started in the capital today decided to set standards and forge a common strategy to ensure their rights and protection.

The two-day workshop was attended by representatives of labour ministries of the eight SAARC countries.

Inaugurating the event, Minister for Labour and Employment Dipak Bohara said the event was held to set common standards on labour migration as employment destinations and problems of migrant workers of SAARC members were similar.

He said the 18th SAARC summit held in Kathmandu for the first time took up the issue of migration and hoped that next SAARC Summit would prepare a concrete plan on the issue.

Stating that around 35.1 million people have left SAARC countries for foreign employment so far, he stressed the need for SAARC member states to unitedly combat human trafficking.

Likewise, secretary at the labour ministry Bishnu Lamsal viewed that SAARC countries should raise a common voice on salary and facilities given to migrant workers abroad.

Also, Mani Bhattarai, joint-secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the workshop would formulate a common plan for the welfare of migrant workers.

The event was also attended by Raghu Kaphle, executive director of Foreign Employment Promotion Board, and government officials labour ministries of SAARC member states.