KATHMANDU, April 4: The government has reiterated its stance on free visas and free air tickets for migrant workers going abroad, and urged the manpower recruiting agencies to resume their services as soon as possible.
The Ministry of Labor and Employment (MoLE) said that it is not open to any further discussions regarding the free visas and free tickets system that was implemented some eight months ago.
The manpower agencies have halted their foreign employment services for the last 27 days to press their demand for withdrawal of the system.
The manpower agencies have already held multiple rounds of meetings with a MoLE team regarding the scrapping of free visas and free tickets but they haven’t reached any agreement. A meeting held on Sunday also failed tp reach any conclusion once the labor ministry reiterated its stance.
Talking to Republica after the meeting, Labor Minister Deepak Bohara remarked that the government will not roll back the free visa-free ticket system under any circumstance.
“The ministry is flexible and open to holding meetings and discussions on any topic except free visas and free tickets. We will not revoke the free visa-free ticket decision, whatever the cost,” said Minister Bohara.
He also clarified that the ministry will not compromise over this matter, and urged the manpower agencies to resume their services.
Sunday’s meeting, which ended inconclusively, decided to call in representatives from the Inland Revenue Department and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA).
The manpower agencies stopped their services from 6 March to protest police raids at manpower agencies. Later, the agencies put forath their demand for a roll back of the free visa-free ticket system. The system was implemented from 6 July, 2015 by then Minister for Labor and Employment Tek Bahadur Gurung .
Under the free visa-free ticket system, an outbound migrant worker has to pay only up to Rs. 17,000, including service charge of up to Rs. 10,000, to the employment agencies, for going to Malaysia, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman and Kuwait. When the migrant workers had to pay for visas and tickets as well, the manpower agencies could maximize their commissions.
General Secretary of the Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies (NAFEA) Rohan Gurung informed that they are unable to bring in job demands from destination countries for just Rs. 10,000.
“We will not resume our services unless the government decides rationally about service charges by the recruiting agencies, ” he said, adding, ” It is impossible to cover our expenses for just Rs. 10,000 while bringing the job demands.”
He also said that the service charge provisions should be covered by the Foreign Employment Act and Regulations.
Though NAFEA has halted the services of the manpower agencies, it has proceeded to expedite final work permits for those whose visas arrived before 31 March 2015. Some 8,000 visas have been received in the period when the foreign employment services remain closed, according to NAFEA.
Source : My Republica