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Nepal – Cost of finding work in Malaysia set to rise

20 December 2013

Nepali workers seeking jobs in Malaysia may have to pay several more thousand Nepali rupees to secure work; as visa and medical check-up fees are likely to be revised upward, reports The Himalayan Times

The cost of going to Malaysia for employment will go up by at least NPR 4,700 (USD 46.64) in the near future, as visa processing fee is likely to go up by NPR 3,200 (USD 31.75) and health check-up fee is likely to rise by USD 15. 

The Malaysian government will soon start outsourcing visa processing work to a company called FOSA. “The company will start charging NPR 3,200 (USD 31.75) for processing visa documents of every person in the near future,” said President of the Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies (NAFEA) Bal Bahadur Tamang. 

The amount that FOSA will be charging from visa applicants is exclusive of the visa fee of NPR 3,900 (USD 38.70) that the Malaysian Embassy in Kathmandu collects Mr Tamang told The Himalayan Times.

The Malaysian Embassy’s decision to outsource visa processing work comes roughly two months after it revised its visa fee structure from NPR 700 (USD 6.95) to NPR 3,900 (USD 38.70).

NAFEA President Tamang said: “Workers leaving for Malaysia were already reeling under pressure due to upward revision of the visa fee. They are likely to be further hit with the latest decision to outsource the visa processing work.”

The pressure that the Nepal Health Professionals’ Federation is exerting on medical centres to install software developed by a Malaysian IT firm is likely to further increase workers’ cost of going to Malaysia.

NAFEA General Secretary Rohan Gurung said: “This software alone costs nearly USD 8,000. And once this software is introduced the cost of medical check-up will go up by USD 15 per person,” adding that the Malaysian Embassy in Kathmandu has given tacit approval for the use of the software.

If what Mr Gurung said turns out to be true, the cost of purchasing the software will be passed on to workers seeking employment in Malaysia, which will ultimately put them under additional financial burden.

To protest these moves, NAFEA is organising a sit-in at the car park of the Malaysian Embassy in Kathmandu on Monday. “If these decisions are not rolled back, we will take the matter to the International Labour Organisation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” NAFEA President Tamang said. 

Currently, more than 800 Nepali workers leave for Malaysia every day. Most of these workers come from rural areas and poor. And many of them obtain loans, usually at high costs, to go abroad just to earn around MYR 630 (USD 192) per month.

Although the government has instructed manpower companies not to charge more than NPR 80,000 (USD 794) from each worker who seeks job placement in Malaysia, few firms are believed to follow this directive. Yet surprisingly few workers complain.

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