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Nepal – Recruiters seek to stop Department of Immigration interference

06 December 2013

The Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies (NAFEA) is preparing to go to court in order to seek an end to interference by immigration officials, which it claims has exposed migrant workers to exploitation and unnecessary stress, reports ekantipur.com.

NAFEA, an umbrella organisation for recruitment agencies, is seeking compensation from the immigration department over the loss it incurred after more than 300 aspiring migrant workers headed for the United Arab Emirates were prevented from boarding a flight after failing to provide extra documentation that had previously not been a requirement.

NAFEA Chairman Bal Bahadur Tamang said his association is seeking an end to the self-made and inconsistent rules of the Department of Immigration (DoI). He claimed that the DoI has no right to reject e-visas when other departments and existing provisions allow their use. The Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE) has approved the use of online visas, as several labour-receiving countries do not have their embassies in Nepal.

Mr Tamang commented: “It’s their right to check passports and things [involved] in immigration laws, but they have no authority to dictate which visa to carry. Now we are in a situation where the concerned department sets up some rules and another remotely related department denies them.”

He added that his association is holding internal discussions and consultations with lawyers in order to start legal proceedings.

NAFEA representatives said they have no problem if the government incorporates immigration officials in the panel to issue work permits but insisted that there should be end to contradictory provisions.

NAFEA reported that the incident cost workers and recruitment companies NPR 10 million (USD 99,766). For each worker returned, there is a loss of at least NPR 80,000 (USD 7,981), which includes the costs of airfare, local transport, visa service charges, and food & accommodation.

The Director General of the DoI, Sarad Chandra Poudel, has already announced that his office will not reimburse the costs. As the immigration staff were just performing their duty. 

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