Nepal | July 07, 2020

Future of 40,000 Nepalis at stake

Malaysian crackdown on illegal migrants to hit remittance flow

Pushpa Raj Acharya
Share Now:
Nepali migrant workers, Malaysia

Nepali migrant workers in Malaysia. Graphic: THT

Kathmandu, July 2

The Malaysian government’s recent move cracking down on illegal migrant workers may hit Nepali labourers in the Southeast Asian nation, which is among the most preferred labour destinations for Nepali outbound workers.

More than 100 Nepali undocumented workers have already been detained, along with illegal migrants from other nations, since the Malaysian government initiated the action on Friday night.

As Malaysia’s immigration department started detaining undocumented migrant workers, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has asked the Nepali Embassy in Malaysia to keep communication lines open with officials of detention centres of the Malaysian government to send back detained Nepalis safely, according to Durga Bhandari, MoFA joint secretary.

Since the immigration department has started clamping down on recruitment companies who hire undocumented workers, it will be challenging for illegal migrant workers to work there. Though there is no factual database on how many Nepalis are working illegally in Malaysia, the Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies has estimated that there could be 40,000 Nepalis working in Malaysia without valid permits.

“Earlier, recruitment companies in Malaysia used to easily hire workers whose work permits had expired and there were no obstacles for illegal workers to send money to their home countries,” Bimal Dhakal, president of NAFEA, told THT. “The number of undocumented Nepali migrants that may be sent back depends on how effectively the Malaysian department of immigration conducts its operation.”

According to NAFEA, fresh demand for workers from Malaysia has plummeted in recent years, as recruitment companies could easily hire undocumented migrant workers. “Though Nepalis are preferred in the Malaysian job market, demand creation is low because those overstaying their work visas were readily recruited,” Dhakal added.

Currently, around 500,000 Nepalis are working in Malaysia.

According to international media reports, the Malaysian government believes that there are around 600,000 undocumented migrant workers in the country. It had launched a scheme in February whereby all foreign workers could get themselves registered with the government. However, only 150,000 people registered themselves as foreign workers.

The rising number of illegal foreign workers is a big challenge for the Malaysian government and it may strictly enforce the crackdown until the estimated number of illegal workers are detained.

MoFA Joint Secretary Bhandari said the embassy and labour attaché in Malaysia had been asked to manage air tickets for the detained Nepalis who were not able to purchase return tickets.

“Though working illegally in any country cannot be encouraged, the recent move will affect remittance inflow from Malaysia if undocumented Nepali workers are sent back,” said Ganesh Gurung, a foreign employment expert. “The trust that Nepali migrant workers in Malaysia have been able to build over the years will be eroded if the Malaysian government finds a large number of Nepalis working illegally during this crackdown.”

A version of this article appears in print on July 03, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Nepal Tourism Board reveals top five photos from 'Nepal From Your Window' contest

KATHMANDU: Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) on Sunday revealed five photos that made it to the top-five of the 'Nepal From Your Window' photo contest. The five photos will be awarded with cash prize of Rs 10,000 each. Among the 500 approved photos listed in the contest, Samde Sherpa's Kathmandu V Read More...

Barca outclass Villarreal after recent disappointments

VILA-REAL: Barcelona responded to a trying week by producing a scintillating display to thrash Villarreal 4-1 away on Sunday and stay alive in the Liga title race. The Catalans had drawn their last two matches to hand more momentum to league leaders Real Madrid but Sunday's win took them to Read More...

Messi will finish career at Barca says club president

VILA-REAL: Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has said that captain Lionel Messi will end his career at the Catalan club, dismissing a report saying the Argentine no longer wishes to renew his current contract when it expires next year. "Messi has said he will end his working and footb Read More...

Oli, Dahal’s bid to save party unity continues

KATHMANDU, JULY 5 Co-chairs of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli held talks today but failed to end the current deadlock in the party. NCP is deeply divided with the PM refusing to quit prime minister or party co-chair’s post, and the Read More...

Subas Chandra Nembang meets Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba

KATHMANDU: Deputy parliamentary party leader of the NCP Subas Chandra Nembang met Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba at the latter’s residence in Budhanilkantha. NC leader Minendra Rijal was also present in the meeting. Nembang told THT that he met Deuba at the behest of Oli ‘to Read More...

Poultry farm

Chicken price up as farmers stop hatching chicks

KATHMANDU, JULY 5 Prices of chicken and eggs in the domestic market has surged after farmers stopped hatching chicks. Chicken cost has shot up to Rs 360 per kg from Rs 250 earlier, while eggs cost Rs 380 per crate of 30 eggs, a hike of Rs 100 in a few days. Krishna Shrestha, a chicken selle Read More...

Govt urged to guarantee citizens’ right to health

Kathmandu, July 5 The National Human Rights Commission has urged the Government of Nepal to guarantee the right to health to every citizen amid the spike in COVID-19 cases and fatalities in the country. Issuing a press release today, the rights body expressed grave concern regarding the findin Read More...

National Examinations Board (NEB) Nepal

Schools may get mandate to conduct Grade XI examination

KATHMANDU, JULY 5 As schools across the country have remained closed for months due to the lockdown, concerned officials are mulling over recommending the government to cancel the national level examination of Grade XI being held by the federal government. The National Curriculum Development a Read More...