Labor agreements with Malaysia and Saudi in limbo

Published On: October 22, 2016 12:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Oct 22: Nepal has failed to conclude labor agreement with Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, where, according to organizations working on migration issues, thousands of women are being trafficked every year.

The destination countries will be compelled to safeguard laborers as per the labor rule of the respective country if the agreement is signed, said Rama Bhattarai, spokesperson at the Department of Foreign Employment. 

“Nepal has been asking Saudi Arabia and Malaysia to sign labor agreement on all types of labors. However, the agreement could not reach a logical conclusion as both the countries are insisting on signing agreements only for housemaids and other domestic workers,” said Bhattarai, adding, “As Nepal wants the agreement for all kind of labors including those who are recruited for risky jobs, we could not reach to a logical conclusion.”

Currently, hundreds of Nepali migrant workers get into trouble every day and they do not get any facilities if they are duped by manpower agencies and employers. The labor agreement will end this trend, Bhattarai said. “The government of the destination country should provide legal protection to migrant workers after signing the agreement.”

The Ministry of Labor and Employment had sent a draft of agreement to both countries a few months back, she said. “But both countries have been denying to ensure labor rights for all except workers housemaids.” 

Migrant workers who leave the country through formal channel will be much safer if the agreement reaches a logical conclusion, according to Bhattarai.

A source at the Ministry of Labor and Employment said that the agreement process has been almost stagnated. The issue has been in the talk since the last couple of years but no tangible output has been achieved so far, said the source. 

“The government should use diplomatic channel to complete the agreement as it is in favor of Nepali migrants,” he said.

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