Stop ‘looting’ of Malaysia-bound workers, govt told

Kathmandu, November 24

The International Relations and Labour Committee of the Parliament today directed the government to do the needful to stop consulting firms from ‘looting’ Malaysia-bound Nepali workers in name of visa processing and other charges.

A Nepali aspiring to work in Malaysia has to pay at least Rs 17,600 visa fee and other charges under different headings. The Malaysian Embassy in Kathmandu has set up a consulting firm for visa processing.

The House panel today summoned Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bimalendra Nidhi, Foreign Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi and Labour Secretary Laxman Prasad Mainali and inquired why the workers were being charged exorbitantly in the name of visa and consultancy fees.

The charges under different headings include Rs 4,500 for bio-metric identification; Rs 6,000 as One Stop Centre fee; Rs 3,200 for immigration security clearance, among other things. Besides, one has to pay Rs 700 visa fee at the Malaysian Embassy.The One Stop Centre and Immigration Security Clearance schemes were begun since September, which cost an additional Rs 9,200.

Speaking at the committee meeting, lawmakers opined that the introduction of OSC and ISC were meant to fleece poor Nepalis. They said the government had to stop sending workers to Malaysia immediately, if it couldn’t stop consulting firms from fleecing poor Nepali job seekers.

Foreign Secretary Bairagi told lawmakers that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had not given its consent for setting up such consulting firms. “The Malaysian side unilaterally began charging aspiring Nepali job seekers additionally in the name of OSC and ISC,” he said. “Nepali Embassy in Malaysia has written thrice to the Malaysian government to get their views in this regard. But the Malaysian side hasn’t responded so far.”

DPM Nidhi said the government would left no stone unturned to stop consulting firms from fleecing Nepali migrant workers in the name of OSC and ISC.Labour Secretary Mainali said his ministry didn’t have the power to take action against those firms.

Meanwhile, the House panel also asked the government to sign a new labour agreement with the Malaysian government to lessen the woes of the Nepali migrant labourers.

The panel also told the government to take action against firms charging workers bound for Malaysia without the government’s approval. The panel also directed the government to take action against officials involved in registering GSG Services Nepal Pvt Ltd and Malaysia VNL Nepal Pvt Ltd.