SAARC countries to plan common standards to aid migrant workers

KATHMANDU: Concerned authorities of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) have joined hands to formulate minimum common standards regarding facilities that migrant workers are entitled to.

A consultative workshop on 'SAARC plan of action for cooperation on matters related to migration' that was held in the Capital today decided to formulate the standards of basic salary and facilities given to migrant workers and make a common strategy on ensuring their rights and ending their problems.

The two-day workshop was attended by higher officers of the receptive ministry of labour and employment of eight SAARC countries.

Inaugurating the event, Minister for Labour and Employment of Nepal Dipak Bohara said that the event aims to formulate a common plan for SAARC members to move ahead hand in hand with regards to foreign employment, as foreign destinations and problems of migrant workers of SAARC members are the same.

He also stated that the 18th SAARC summit held in Kathmandu, had for the first time accommodated the issue of migration in its declaration, expressing hope that next SAARC summit would make a concrete plan on the issue.

Presenting a figure of around 35.1 million people leaving for foreign employment from the SAARC countries alone, Minister Bohara also stressed the need for SAARC countries to show solidarity with anti-human trafficking that is connected to foreign employment.

Likewise, secretary of the ministry Bishnu Lamsal viewed that SAARC countries should raise common voice on salary and facilities given to migrant workers and their security.

Also, joint secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mani Bhattarai said that the workshop will be successful in formulating a common plan for the welfare of foreign workers.