Govt looking for alternative to 'free visa, free ticket' system

Published On: December 9, 2021 03:54 PM NPT By: RUDRA KHADKA

KATHMANDU, Dec 9: The government is trying to find an alternative to the ‘free visa, free ticket’ system for foreign employment, saying neither the government nor those going abroad has been able to benefit from the system.

Even though the government enforced the rules, the manpower companies could not arrange free visas and free tickets accordingly. So, there is no option to pay thousands of rupees for the youth going abroad for work as before. On the other hand, the manpower companies have not been able to show more than Rs 10,000 as their earnings even after taking hundreds of thousands of rupees from people going abroad.

As a result, the government has not been able to collect taxes from the businessmen who earn millions annually. The government has started talking about alternatives after the ‘free visa, free ticket’ rule did not benefit either of the parties.

In the year 2072 BS, the then government had implemented the rule that the employment companies should give free visas and tickets to the youths going to six Gulf countries and Malaysia.

At the same time, the manpower companies were allowed to charge only Rs 10,000 as the service fee. The decision by the then Minister of State for Labor, Tek Bahadur Gurung, was initially controversial.

At the first glance, this rule seems to be in the interest of the youth going for employment, but the inner game was centered on the business interests of some manpower companies.

Speaking to reporters recently, Minister for Labor, Employment and Social Security, Krishna Kumar Shrestha said that the decision of free visa and free ticket had deceived both the state and the workers and that its alternative should be sought. "I asked the Qatari authorities a few days ago to send me information about free visa tickets as well as service charges," Shrestha told Republica.

According to Minister Shrestha, due to the rule that a manpower company can charge only Rs 10,000 per worker, businessmen who charge at least Rs 50 million when sending 100 workers have shown that they have collected only Rs 1 million.

On the one hand, it has turned the money of manpower companies into black money, which has made it easier for them to avoid tax; while on the other hand, the state is losing revenue.

The free visa ticket system is like a popular slogan, so it is not easy to get rid of it immediately. That is why the Ministry of Labor is now starting a debate on alternatives. Officials at the Ministry of Labor say that the decision has been taken with the consent of all as the young people going abroad have not been able to avail the benefits and the state is also losing a large amount of revenue.

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