Collusion between govt officials and Institutes suspected
KATHMANDU, Jan 26: After finalizing a deal with an agent in Jhapa to give him one million rupees, Rubina Sharma* is in Kathmandu to ensure a job in Israel. As suggested by the agent, she will learn Hebrew language and some basic skills for the job. The agent has told her not to worry about the deal as she will earn at least 200,000 rupees a month, and working extra hours may fetch her up to 350,000 rupees. Rubina, 32, excitedly shared this to her friend last week, who came in contact with Republica and reported the story. Upon interrogation, Rubina is suspicious of her friend and Republica for ruining her chances of flying off to Israel by making 'unnecessary intervention' and has gone rather tight lipped.
Bindabasini Institute, ironically located just behind the Parliament House in Baneshwor, boasts of being the number one certified and experienced training center for job aspirants like Rubina. In less than a week of the news of Israel recruiting some 500 Nepali caregivers, over 100 youths have reached out to Bindabasini Institute for training. The three-month training costs 18,500 rupees per person and classes are run for around two hours every day. Apparently, the Institute is doing nothing more than what it is supposed to do. However, behind closed doors secret deals are made. Rubina came to the same Institute upon suggestion of the first agent; there are a few more institutes operating for the same purpose.
According to Rajesh Aryal, in-charge of the institute, training is mandatory to get placement as a caregiver in Israel. But that's not all.
"Since they are the employees of the Government of Nepal, they will not proceed with the file without taking bribes, it's not possible to get placement for free," Aryal said in a casual tone. "Less than one million will not do, but we are not going to ask for money unless visa is guaranteed," he added.
The in-charge had mistaken Republica for a job aspirant's relative. Upon asking the process of getting a job in Israel, he had disclosed the 'real method' to get it done. He further stated the agents who are already taking money from aspiring candidates are only fooling them. 'Authentic institutes like ours do not take money from anyone, and we have never done so before. If your sister is serious about getting a job in Israel, send her here," he said sheepishly.
He further stated that doing it for less than one million rupees is going to be difficult as the share of the bribe has to be distributed among officials at the Department of Labor and other related departments. Moreover, who won't spend one million for a job that covers the cost in just two months! "How can I consider, it's not just in my hand, there's a huge network," he reminded Republica.
Meanwhile, Dr Anjan Shakhya, Nepal’s ambassador to Israel, expressed sadness over this. Talking to Republica over the phone, she said that she also noticed some disturbing advertisements on Facebook, and 'those agents are already under police custody.'
"Except for the air ticket, and certain basic things, no other expenses have to be paid for. We have made this loud and clear. Things went wrong for Nepali workers in Israel due to similar practices in the past, a case is in the court. Such agents are trying to ruin everything," she maintained while agreeing to send a voice clip to make the matter further clear to the public.
Nepal's economy largely depends on remittances. Failure to create jobs at home has forced millions of Nepali s to toil hard in foreign lands. The job of caregiver in Israel is described as extremely taxing but at the same time 'suitable for the caring nature of Nepalis'. The pay, generally no less than 200,000 a month, is lucrative. Competition for the placement as caregiver in Israel has activated agents like Aryal of Bindabasini Institute. There is a huge challenge to ensure a fair and free recruitment process.
According to Tikamani Neupane, Spokesperson at the Department of Foreign Employment, agents are giving false assurance to job aspirants. Job seekers should also be aware of thugs. He said 'there is no way that the Department officials are involved in wrong things for a little money, risking their job and reputation.'
"We are also under scrutiny. You are watching us, and other multiple bodies are watching us. Why risk my job, reputation for such a thing? Are other officials fool? Tomorrow it can drag them to their biggest trouble. Agents have no role in this process, workers will go under G2G modality," Neupane said. "There are certain criteria the candidates have to fulfil. They have to pass a physical test and interview," he added.
Upon learning that the audio of the conversation, which is safe with Republica, Neupane assured of strict action against Aryal and Bindabasini Institute.
Meanwhile, Rubina is not sure whether it's the government who will ultimately have the upper hand in the selection process or the same agent who has asked her to rely on him for a job opportunity in Israel.