Welfare sum for migrant workers’ kin doubled

  • Govt has also changed earlier rule that did not cover migrant workers whose contracts were still valid but had returned home for vacation

Kathmandu, July 31

The government has more than doubled the compensation amount given to the kin of migrant workers who pass away, suffer serious injuries or become critically ill while working abroad to Rs 7 lakh from Rs 3 lakh earlier.

Following the amendment to Foreign Employment Regulation, a new clause has also been introduced that allows migrant workers who become critically ill to claim the compensation amount of Rs 7 lakh. Earlier only families of those who suffered serious injuries or those who lost their lives while working overseas were eligible for compensation under the welfare scheme.

The government has also added a new provision, whereby the scheme would be applicable for additional one year in case the initial contract of the migrant worker expires and s/he renews the work agreement there. This means that if a migrant worker, who had left the country under a two-year contract gets an extension of one more year, but passes away after two-and-a-half years from the initial contract date, his relatives will still get the entire welfare amount.

The government has also changed the earlier rule that did not cover migrant workers whose contracts were still valid but had returned home for vacation or emergency. According to Raghu Raj Kafle, executive director of Foreign Employment Promotion Board, migrant workers with valid work contracts will be eligible to claim compensation under the welfare scheme even if not at their labour destination during any major accident.

Kafle added that the government would utilise Foreign Employment Welfare Fund to rescue all migrant workers stranded abroad. The government will also play a proactive role in getting migrant workers imprisoned in destination countries released by appointing lawyers to fight their cases.

The hike in welfare fund being granted to migrant workers is based on the Cabinet’s decision taken on June 2.

According to the new provision, migrant workers who leave for Gulf countries and Malaysia with a maximum three-year work permit have to contribute Rs 1,500 per person to the fund. They were required to contribute only Rs 1,000 before the amendment. Workers with over three-year contract planning to leave for South Korea and Israel have to pay Rs 2,500 each to the fund.

“We had to increase the amount that migrant workers are required to contribute to the fund, as we have introduced new provisions to the welfare scheme,” explained Kafle.

The fund, which was set up around a decade ago, has so far collected Rs 4 billion. Migrant workers are also required to have life insurance of Rs 1.5 million and insurance against critical illness of Rs 5 lakh before they are allowed to go abroad to work.