Govt tightening leash on manpower agencies

Published On: February 12, 2019 06:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Feb 12: Parliament's Committee on Law, Justice and Human Rights has endorsed an amendment proposal for the Foreign Employment Act 2007, with minor revisions Under the amendment, foreign employment agencies will need to hike their security deposits within six months.

Categorizing overseas employment agencies into three types based on the volume of manpower they send to the receiving countries, the revised provision has proposed a security deposit of a minimum Rs 5 million to maximum 20 million with Rs 10 to 40 million as bank guarantee.

Under the existing law, all human resource agencies require Rs 700,000 as security deposit and Rs 2.3 million as bank guarantee . Earlier, the government had proposed two categories of security deposits ranging from Rs 10 million to Rs 20 million and double that amount as bank guarantee.

“The committee has proposed three categories of human resource agencies based on the volume of workers they send abroad,” said Krishna Bhakta Pokharel, chairperson of the parliamentary committee.

According to the revised provision endorsed by the committee, any manpower agency supplying below 3,000 workers abroad in a year requires Rs 5 million as security deposit and a bank guarantee of Rs 20 million. Similarly, those sending 3,000 to 5,000 workers abroad need Rs 10 million as security deposit and a bank guarantee of Rs 30 million. The amendment proposes that a manpower company that can send more than 5,000 workers abroad annually should deposit Rs 20 million as security deposit and Rs 40 million as bank guarantee, within six months.

The parliamentary panel has also proposed scrapping the registration of any foreign employment agency failing to send a minimum of 100 people abroad in a year.

The amendment to the Foreign Employment Act has given a six-month window period for manpower agencies to increase their deposits .It also paves the way for the merger of two or more agencies. The amendment makes it mandatory to merge any two or more manpower agencies owned by members of a single family, again within six months. If they fail to merge in the window period they will be scrapped.

The government has proposed the amendment under the Some Nepal Acts Amendment Bill, which was tabled in parliament to amend in bulk 56 different laws.

Making a revision to law relating to the Election Commission, as part of the same bill, the parliamentary panel has made it mandatory for the EC to follow the Public Procurement Act for any purchase for its offices. The EC has been exempt from following the procurement act for such purposes.

“The amendment registered by the government made it mandatory for the EC to follow the Public Procurement Act for each and every procurement. The revision by the parliamentary committee allows the EC to skip the procurement act in urgent procurements for election purposes,” said Chairperson Pokharel.

According to the amendment bill, the EC should also seek prior approval from the government while hiring staff for election purposes.

Similarly, revising the Bonus Act, the parliamentary panel has proposed that any employee receiving less than the minimum wage fixed by the government should get a bonus of up to eight months. Others shall benefit from bonus of up to six months.

Revising the Local Governance Act, the parliamentary committee has proposed that a community forest should pay 10 percent of its total income as tax to the local unit. Earlier, the government had proposed 25 percent as tax to the local units.

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