Nepali migrant workers facing difficulty for lack of labour pact

Kathmandu, March 29: The Nepali migrant workers have been facing various difficulties as the government has not signed bilateral labour agreement with many destination countries. They have been deprived of basic rights and facilities as minimum salary, medical expenses, insurance and legal services due to this. The bilateral labour agreement is the main basis for the workers’ security. Although the country has opened 108 countries as destination countries for Nepali workers, the country has so far signed labour agreement only with Qatar so far. MoUs have been signed with Bahrain, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait and Israel.

Exchange of letters is taking place with Saudi Arabia, Malysia and Oman for signing the bilateral labour agreements while the draft of the agreement has been prepared, ready to be sent through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to Jordan and Lebanon, spokesman at the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Govinda Mani Bhurtel, said. Bhurtel said that signing labour agreement is not all in Nepal’s control as the approval of the destination country too needs to be taken to that connection; so, the delay. He claimed that agreements would be reached with many countries very soon.

Executive Director of the Department of Foreign Employment, Raghu Raj Kafle said that if possible bilateral labour agreement should be signed and if not at least MoU should be reached between the source country and the destination country before sending the workers. In his view, the present problem is because many countries have been opened as destination countries for Nepali workers without signing either labour agreement or MoU. He said the workers are facing problems like not getting their pay on time, the company seizing their passport from them and denial of services, facilities, insurance and health allowances etc.

A total 4 million 520 thousand 413 Nepalis have gone on overseas employment as per the figures available until mid-March since the Department of Foreign Employment started keeping records of people going on foreign employment 22 years back. This number does not include the Nepali migrant workers in India. Of this number, 4 million 357 thousand 119 are male and 163 thousand 294 are female.