Low worker demand from Malaysia

Published On: December 4, 2019 07:54 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Dec 4: Malaysia has sought around 31,000 Nepali workers since Nepal lifted travel restriction on its citizens from travelling to the South East Asian country for employment around two months ago.  

Issuing a statement Tuesday, Nepal’s mission in Kaula Lumpur said that it attested 31,201 job demands from 963 employers since the first week of October.

The demands were made for industrial sector (17,116), for security sector (10,183), agriculture sector (1,475), plantation sector (1,397) and construction sector (1,030). Employers are required to attest job demand letter at the embassy before they start the actual hiring process.

The figure is low compared to usual job demands that Nepal used to receive until a few years ago.

It is important to note that the attestation of demand letter is one of the first steps in the hiring process that could take around three months before ending with a final work approval, and doesn’t necessarily warrant a job. 

Malaysia was one of the top employment destinations for Nepali workers until Nepal imposed a blanket ban on Nepali workers from taking job offers in Malaysia in 2018. Around 119,601 workers had received work permit in the fiscal year 2016/17.

Nepal officially lifted the ban in September after Malaysia agreed, in principle, to shift the burden of visa fees to employers and form a panel to rethink on monopoly of Malaysian subcontractors in visa processing and health screening. 

Nepali manpower agencies have reported a sharp decline in job demands from Malaysia despite the resumption of the hiring process. Many lament that the 16-month ban shifted the attention of Malaysian employers to countries including Bangladesh, Indonesia and Cambodia which are traditional suppliers of cheap labor.   

Many remain hopeful that there would be gradual increase in the job demand in the coming months due to the reputation of Nepalis ‘as cheap and hardworking people’ among the local employers. Moreover, Nepalis are the only foreign nationals eligible to work in the country’s security sector.

Malaysia, the host to around 300,000 Nepali workers, has always remained one of the favorite job destinations for Nepali workers, owing to familiar climate, food habits and culture.

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