Problems related to employment abroad

Nepal has seen significant changes in several policy areas after the introduction of a federalist constitution in 2015. But overseas employment policies are examples of what has remained unchanged despite massive changes in the system Politics. The Ministry of Overseas Employment’s internal database suggests that around 3 million Nepalis are currently employed overseas with genuine documents. Their contribution to the economic and social development of Nepal is unparalleled in any other policy area in Nepal. Yet Nepal’s overall regulations on the management of overseas employment remain a matter of controversy.

Five pervasive elements of overseas employment management heighten controversy in its policy and practice. The first element refers to its conceptual domain. The Nepalese Overseas Employment Law has not provided conceptual clarity in some of the perennial topics. For example, there is no political consensus on when Nepalis should be sent for overseas employment. Will we continue to send our people overseas for the foreseeable future?

Similarly, policy makers are unclear about the government’s role in sending young Nepalese to work abroad. When should the government take the initiative and when should it facilitate the involvement of the private sector in sending Nepalese citizens for jobs abroad? Clarity is also lacking in the definition of skills. On the one hand, the government requires its citizens to be technically sound in order to contribute to the advancement of our own country. On the other hand, Nepalese policy makers continue to express the desire to send qualified human resources for overseas employment. Who will build this nation if we promote professional human resources for overseas employment? If we continue to favor sending unqualified people, how will their working conditions improve?

The second area of ​​contention relates to the oversight aspect of private sector agencies. The regulations of the Private Sector Overseas Employment Act 2007 appear to be relatively strong, requiring government agencies to be more vigilant about, among other things, how recruitment processes are conducted. The current landscape of Department of Foreign Employment vetting arrangements and procedures does not appear to meet the current need to work with private recruitment companies. This resulted in an atmosphere of misunderstanding between the government and private sector bodies, which ultimately hampered the government’s efforts to regulate the foreign employment management sector in an acceptable manner.

The third is to provide social services to foreign employees and their families back home. According to current legislation, the Overseas Employment Board – an authority responsible for providing social services to foreign employees and their families – cannot provide social services to those who do not register before go for a job abroad. However, the law clearly defines the role of private sector agencies in providing social services to migrant workers and their families if they require assistance due to breach of employment contract or other unforeseen reasons. . Problems arise when private sector organizations refuse to provide such support.

Fourth, contestations are emerging over the roles and responsibilities of Nepal as a labor sending country and of the governments of many receiving countries. It seems that almost all bilateral labor agreements perfectly define several principles, including fair recruitment, the responsibilities of governments and the duties of those involved in the management of employment abroad. In practice, however, many actors are reluctant to follow such provisions. Joint technical committees discuss these practical shortcomings, but their performance and effectiveness are still questionable.

The fifth area of ​​controversy concerns how the foreign employment regime in Nepal works with like-minded national and international organizations. There are examples of such organizations at the national and international levels that offer information services, carry out activities related to capacity building, facilitate complaints mechanisms and sometimes help victims to contact the government entity. appropriate. The question here is whether and under what conditions the government should allow endogenous and exogenous organizations to become involved in which sector of foreign employment.

Possible solutions

Finding possible solutions to these problems requires three interrelated interventions. The first is the reform that must be driven at the political level. Such reforms should exclusively answer the question of “leadership” in sending young Nepalese for employment abroad: when, under what circumstances and how should the government itself recruit Nepalese citizens to send them to different work destinations, especially to countries with which Nepal has signed bilateral labor agreements?

The second is more managerial. What has been particularly felt in recent years is a clear lack of communication between jurisdictions. Private sector agencies are considered to have less accountability to government agencies and/or foreign employees. This sentiment can be resolved by having regular conversations between recruitment agencies, advocacy organizations and government with the sole objective of developing a common multilateral understanding of contentious issues. This intervention must be designed in such a way that all the measures of the regulatory framework are participatory and therefore acceptable to all the actors concerned in the cycle of managing foreign employment.

Finally, when the government of Nepal is about to sign bilateral labor agreements or memorandums of understanding, the role of host countries in managing controversies needs to be carefully drafted. Informed by scientific evidence, the government can and should cooperate with destination countries, advocacy organizations and campaigns, and the private sector in countries of origin and destination in hopes of bringing about positive changes in the management of foreign employment.

Comments are closed.