Nepal, in line with the global suit, is marking the International Migrants Day on Monday at a time while the news are rife that Nepali migrant workers are facing hard time to get due payment and facilities as per their backbreaking jobs including other administrative hurdles and hassles as per RSS.
Overcharge for visa services, low wages and different nature of job contrary to agreements, forced and risky jobs, prohibition to return home even after the termination of contract term, lack of proper orientation before heading to receiving country and sheer negligence in medical checkup are some pressing problems facing Nepali migrant workers and aspirants of foreign employment.
In 2000, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 18 December as the International Migrants Day in commemoration of the adaptation of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families in 1990.
Nepal is also marking the Day by organizing various programmes with the theme of “Safe, systematic and disciplined foreign employment, our concern.”
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) statistics show that a total number of migrant workers across the world stand around 232 million and its one-fourth population is in the Asia and the Pacific regions.
Around 400 thousands youths leave Nepal every year in for the foreign employment. Though an estimated number of Nepali migrant workers is around three million, more convincing data is awaited.
Necessity of programmes to prod authorities concerned and create pressure on them to take steps and decision in favour of their rights and welfare has been highly realized in the hour when the country is observing the Day. Remittance has remained as the backbone of Nepal’s economy and remittance inflow in Nepal is around Rs 700 billion annually.
To be more specific, the full enforcement of the provisions of free visa and ticket decided by the government in July, 2015 for Gulf countries like Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Kuwait, Oman and Malaysia seems imperative so it would be a great relief for a large number of youths.
As per the free visa free ticket provision, a foreign employment pursuer has to pay limited amount for the facility of life insurance, orientation/training, medical checkup and welfare fund and manpower companies can demand only up to Rs 10 thousands each as service charge provided that the hiring company does not pay them.
The situation is some manpower agencies are charging over Rs 100 thousands from a Nepali aspiring to join foreign labour market in these countries.
Though the erstwhile International Relations and Labour Committee of the Legislature-Parliament had conducted a field survey to find out the situation of Nepali migrant workers in the Gulf countries and following the survey, had directed the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to respond with the issues, no progress is realized yet.
The increasing deaths rate of Nepali migrant workers is another grave concern of Nepal regarding the sector of foreign employment. The State is yet to come up with clear provisions regarding Nepali migrant workers languishing in jail and those fighting death in coma.