KATHMANDU, Aug 31: The government has decided to resume issuing labor permits for Nepali workers going abroad for employment.
A cabinet meeting held on Sunday made a decision to start reopening the service of issuing work permits that was suspended on March 12 as part of the measures taken by the government to curb the spread of coronavirus.
“The cabinet has decided to resume issuing new work permits based on the agreement with the labor destination countries and demands for Nepali workers,” said Yuba Raj Khatiwada, the government spokesperson.
“There were questions raised on the issue of work permit for a long time. Now, we have decided to reopen the issuance of new work permits,” he added.
The decision to start issuing work permits again follows the plan to resume international flights with certain conditions from September 1.
Although the government in July opened the work permits for the reentry to allow workers to return to their labor destination countries after arriving Nepal on job break or with new contracts, it was yet to resume issuing the new work permits.
According to the Department of Foreign Employment, nearly 5,000 workers have already acquired the reentry labor permits since July.
Kumar Prasad Dahal, Director General of the DoFE, told Republica that the resumption of issuing new labor permits will pave the way for thousands of workers aspiring to go abroad for employment.
“The department will start issuing work permits based on the demands of the workers from destination countries and after following certain procedures,” said Dahal. “We may expect commercial flights to resume their operation by the time when many workers will be able to obtain the labor permits. Those who want to fly to their labor destinations immediately may choose to fly with the repatriation flights that are flying empty from Nepal,” he added.
However, some experts say that it is not the right time to reopen the work permits and promote foreign employment when the global pandemic is yet to subside and the government is struggling to repatriate thousands of workers stranded abroad after losing their jobs.
According to the DoFE, a total of 193,945 Nepali workers acquired work permits in the last fiscal year 2019/20, down from 243,868 in the previous fiscal year 2018/19.