House panel to study enforcement of free-visa, free-ticket policy

Published On: September 7, 2016 07:52 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Sept 6: Although the free-visa, free-ticket policy for migrant workers leaving the country came into effect from July 2015, it has yet to be enforced, forcing migrant workers to pay exorbitant fees to go for abroad jobs. 

Parliament's International Relations and Labor Committee (IRLC) has time and again directed the government to execute the provision, but to no avail. 

The House committee issued yet another directive on Tuesday, ordering the government to stop issuing work permits to outbound security guards until it gives another directive on the matter. 

Concluding that outbound migrant workers were still being squeezed into paying much higher amount by manpower agencies, the committee has decided to formally investigate the status of the implementation of the free-visa, free-ticket scheme introduced by the government last year. 

The committee has formed a seven-member Foreign Employment Fraud Investigation and Monitoring Subcommittee, led by Member of Parliament Min Bahadur Biswakarma, to prepare the report. 

The subcommittee has also been mandated to monitor and investigate the alleged practice of holding passport of migrant workers by manpower agencies and not providing bills to migrant workers for fees charged. 

The committee has been asked to submit its report within a month. 

“The concerned ministry and the Department of Foreign Employment have failed to take action against manpower agencies that are cheating outbound migrant workers,” according to the committee members. 

The subcommittee will also monitor the role of government agencies to assess whether they are doing enough on their part to control frauds and malpractices in foreign employment, according to the committee. 

The government had enforced the free-visa, free-ticket scheme amid protests by recruiting agencies. 

The implementation of the provision has always remained controversial as the manpower agencies have been openly defying the scheme. 

Meanwhile, the committee has directed the Ministry of Information and Communications to monitor the situation of implementation of Working Journalists Act and submit the report to it within two months. The committee has asked the ministry not to provide any subsidy to those media houses that do not abided by the act.

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