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Nepal – Foreign recruitment firms exploiting jobseekers

05 December 2013

Aspiring migrant workers are paying exorbitant fees to foreign employment agencies in order to secure work abroad. The Nepalese government, meanwhile, is doing very little to clamp down on these agencies that operate at the expense of impoverished Nepalis, hoping to earn decent wages in foreign countries in order to support their families, reports ekantipur.com.

Gulf countries and Malaysia are popular labour destinations for many Nepali youths. The majority of them rely on foreign employment agencies to acquire visas. The government has set the price ceilings of NPR 80,000 (USD 794) and NPR 70,000 (USD 695) for agencies to send workers to Malaysia and the Gulf countries, respectively. The workers, however, are being charged more than the stipulated fees.

Amal Kiran Dhakal, labour attaché at the Nepali Embassy in Malaysia, said it is the proliferation and the monopoly of local recruitment agents based in labour destinations that changed the way business is done while sending workers abroad. “These agents charge ridiculous amount of commission from recruitment agencies, who in turn, rip off the innocent workers.”

The embassy officials in the Gulf and Malaysia said the local governments responsible for sending and receiving labourers are, through their inaction, giving tacit approval to these actions. They said the employment agencies are operating under the thumb of local agents from labour destinations, who are the main individuals responsible for arranging jobs to the workers.   

“The governments that send and receive labourers should act mutually to address these problems. The reason Nepalese companies get more demand for workers than other countries is their readiness to pay demanded commission,” said an official at the Nepali Embassy in Saudi Arabia.

Foreign employment agencies in Nepal claim they cannot send workers on government set fees as they have to pay commission to the agents based in foreign destinations.

According to Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies, the culture of paying commission to win the workers demand from labour destinations has become cutthroat and the agents are enjoying all the benefits.

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