The never-changing foreign employment entrepreneurs
It’s been long since the foreign employment business in Nepal has earned a bad name for itself. The number of Nepalis going abroad for employment every year has crossed the half a million mark. With the growing trend of Nepalis going for foreign employment, the number of cases of fraud, too, has been piling up. A total of 2,383 complaints – 1,452 against institutions and 931 against individuals - against such fraud were filed in the last fiscal year 2016/17 alone. In these complaints registered at the Department of Foreign Employment, the complainants claimed a record compensation of nearly Rs 760 million. Out of this total compensation amount, the Department made the guilty pay a total compensation of nearly Rs 160 million.
In fiscal year 2015/16, the number of such complaints stood at 2,172. This clearly shows that the cases of fraud taking place through manpower companies are not only prevalent in Nepal but also growing. The fact that nearly 1,500 cases of fraud are being registered against manpower companies every year shows that the fraud in this sector is slowly getting institutionalized. The government has already fixed the fees for foreign employment for different countries and also fixed the commission to be received by the manpower companies. However, the trend of taking more amounts from the foreign job seekers than that fixed by the government has been on the rise.
One of the biggest irregularities in the foreign employment sector, as revealed by the study of a parliamentary committee, is that foreign job seekers are being forced to pay anywhere between Rs 50,000 to Rs 900,000 to go to their work destinations though the government claims to have implemented the ‘free visa, free ticket’ system. This revelation is based on the parliamentary committee’s discussions with those Nepalis who have gone for foreign employment.
The Ministry of Labour and Employment had decided on June 4, 2015 to send Nepalis willing to go abroad for employment at zero cost. However, the manpower companies have been squeezing money out of the foreign job seeker on various pretexts which is a daylight robbery. What is more worrisome is, the Nepalis who had gone abroad in this way did not get a job there for three months.
Foreign job seekers are so much exploited by manpower agents that they do not know which manpower company has sent them even after reaching their work destinations. According to the parliamentary panel’s study, Nepali migrant workers are being sold like goats in the Gulf.
The panel’s report has revealed that human traffickers have established their offices in Ajman of the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait to sell domestic workers like goats. This is a very serious and sensitive issue. It’s high time the government took stern action against the guilty manpower companies and agents.