The Foreign Employment Bill tabled in the House of Representatives on November 7 aims at streamlining this albeit disorganised but vital sector. For starters, the impractical Foreign Employment Act 1985 has to be discarded because of the drastic shift in the ground realities over the past 21 years and the current scenario where unemployment rate has jumped manifold. The Bill proposes to raise a cash deposit requirement for recruiting agencies to the tune of Rs. 3 million from the existing Rs. 0.5 million, apart from envisaging a separate Department of Foreign Employment that ensures a hassle-free but result-oriented services. Moreover, it seeks to set up a welfare fund for the security of workers which, doubtless, would go a long way in ameliorating the woes of hapless Nepalis sweating it out in foreign lands, some of them hopelessly inhospitable.

The unfavourable climate created by the political turmoil is one of the reasons why an increasing number of Nepalis are seeking jobs abroad. All the manpower agencies in the capital cannot be said to be guided by professional and ethical motives alone. Which is why taking undue advantage of unsuspecting youths is nothing new. For speedy judgements on job-related cases and other legal issues, a Foreign Employment Tribunal has been visualised. The Bill rightly proposes harsher penalties like incarceration to control cheating by the unscrupulous recruiting agencies. On the other hand, remittances, which accounted for over 14 per cent of last year’s GDP, will surely shore up provided this sector is cleansed.