Failure of government machinery to save laborers

26 December, Kathmandu. 13 people who reached ‘PRS Forest Management’ company in Malaysia after paying up to Rs 280,000 to the manpower company were stranded for a month. He didn’t inform various government agencies for quick rescue, but no one listened.

A few days ago, the manpower company was ready to return them only after informing the officials of the Prime Minister’s and Council of Ministers’ office through their relatives. Following the instructions of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, the Prime Minister’s Office announced on Monday that the process of repatriation of 13 people has been started and six people will reach Nepal in the first phase on Tuesday.

Something similar happened at another place in Malaysia. 28 Nepalese are trapped in a building in Keylong city for 9 days after being evacuated by their employer. When he complained to various government agencies, officials from the Nepalese Embassy in Malaysia came to meet him.

According to the stranded workers, the embassy and manpower company representatives continued to pressurize them to return to work by meeting the harassed employer and torturing them mentally and physically. Although some accepted to return to work, more than 15 refused, so embassy officials stopped answering phones.

They kept calling the government’s labor call center (+977-1141) from the Foreign Employment Department and complaining to government places through their family and friends that they would anyway return to Nepal.

However, with all government agencies coming and going at the embassy, ​​they publicized the fact that they were stranded through social media and the media.

After learning about the incident on Monday, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda instructed the embassy, ​​through Chief Secretary Shankardas Bairagi, ‘to rescue all those who are stranded.’ The Prime Minister’s Secretariat has informed that the process has started to bring those stranded in Nepal who want to return to their country.

The Prime Minister’s Secretariat has informed through a press release that Prime Minister Prachanda has instructed Chief Secretary Bairagi to understand the situation of Nepalis facing various problems abroad and take immediate steps for their release and rescue.

This incident has confirmed how ineffective the government agencies responsible for rescuing Nepalis abroad are. From the department that can direct the manpower company to rescue if there is a problem, the embassy and the Foreign Employment Board should initiate the rescue, they are running away from their role.

Foreign employment affairs expert Rameshwar says that although it is positive that the Prime Minister of Nepal is serious about the laborers’ problem, attention should be paid to strengthening the government machinery.

‘Thus, it is not possible for the Prime Minister to look into one matter at a time, it leads to ad hocism and the problem within the system which does not respond immediately becomes more complex’, Nepal said. ‘The prime minister should start making long-term arrangements so that he can be saved on the basis of reports to government agencies, not for momentary applause.’

Still, due to various problems, many Nepali laborers who want to return home are stuck in the destination country itself. However, he is forced to lead a difficult life abroad as he does not get support from the state system.

Nepalese workers face many problems

Victim GC

The efforts of the family members to bring Tulsa ji home from Okharkot, Payuthan, who remained unconscious for 5 months due to brain haemorrhage in Kuwait, could not succeed due to lack of money.

Her relatives have approached the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security, Nepalese Embassy in Kuwait, Department of Foreign Employment and Foreign Employment Board to rescue her as a domestic worker. However, no one is ready to listen to the plea of ​​his family.

According to data from the Foreign Employment Board, 16 Nepalese, including 14 men and 2 women, are in coma in hospitals in different countries.

It is not yet decided whether those who are in jail abroad will be able to return to the country or not. There is a government policy to help them fight the legal battle, but because the government has refused to spend enough money, Nepalis who are in prison abroad are unable to get lawyers to fight their cases.

The Secretariat of the Foreign Employment Board is aware that there are about 700 Nepalese in jails abroad. A third of them are in jails in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

There is also the problem of missing Nepalis who have gone abroad for employment. According to the Foreign Employment Board, 410 Nepalese including 379 men and 31 women have gone missing till 2021/2022.

The problem of trapped laborers is not only in Malaysia and Gulf countries, but the number of trapped laborers has also increased in African countries due to the promise of lucrative paying jobs in Europe and America.

After this problem increased, on December 22, the Nepalese Embassy in Pretoria, the capital of South Africa, issued a ‘travel advisory’ to avoid coming to South Africa for foreign employment under false temptation.

According to the embassy, ​​there has been an increase in fraud involving lakhs of rupees from Nepalese nationals claiming that they have been offered attractive salaries and benefits for overseas employment in South Africa and that they will be taken to South Africa from South Africa. Europe and the United States. According to the embassy, ​​they were brought to South Africa via perilous routes through the cities of New Delhi and Mumbai in India, as well as through the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Tanzania, Mozambique, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Congo. and other African countries.

Not only laborers, but due to lack of timely initiative in some countries, the dead bodies of Nepalis are stuck in the country due to not being able to bring them home. The Foreign Employment Board legally helps only those Nepalis who go abroad after obtaining a work permit and paying a fee to the ‘Foreign Employment Welfare Fund’. People who go abroad illegally for foreign employment due to various inducements do not get any help from the government. As there is no record of them in government agencies, they do not get help even when they are in trouble.

Rescue policies and mechanisms are weak

The search and rescue figures for Nepalese stranded abroad are dismal. In the last four financial years 2075/76, 2076/77, 2077/78 and 2078/79, government figures show that 1,554 people were rescued. A total of Rs 28.1 crore has been spent for the same, during which the Board has distributed Rs 20.419 crore to the families of those who died abroad and Rs 11.39 crore has been spent on collecting and transporting the bodies.

Due to the financial years 2076/77 and 2077/78, thousands of Nepalis were forced to leave their jobs and return to their country due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But instead of showing patronage in rescuing distressed Nepalis from going abroad for employment, the government was criticized for extorting money from workers by setting expensive chartered flight fares.

Dwarika Upreti, executive director of the Foreign Employment Board, believes that there are problems in the rescue mechanism and system. He says that the Ministry of External Affairs and the mission complain that due to lack of adequate manpower and budget, there is a problem in the rescue.

“Although in major labor destination countries, labor assistants and counselors are also in embassies, they say there is a problem with transportation (equipment) and transportation expenses to reach laborers,” he says, “if that determines That laborers have to be saved, they send comments, we send tickets within a day.

Som Lamichhane, general secretary of Nepali Nepali Coordination Committee (PNCC), involved in rescuing Nepali workers stranded abroad, comments that the government’s rescue mechanism needs to be saved.

The victim will have to give a written application for rescue, only then the said government agency will investigate whether the laborer went abroad legally or illegally. The government will help the workers only when they have valid documents with work permit.

It is difficult for the information coming from the call center to other government agencies to reach the Nepalese Embassy. Because embassies do not like to act immediately after hearing such complaints outside office hours. Embassies do not have any separate mechanism to immediately initiate the process to rescue Nepalis in distress.

Embassies do not contact, meet or expedite the placement of stranded workers, manpower companies and agents. Even if this work is done, the lack of budget remains a headache for the embassies. Because the embassies do not even have the budget to buy tickets for the rescue of the labourers.

The embassy should write to the secretariat of the Foreign Employment Board and ask for a budget for the rescue. Based on that letter, the embassy can start the rescue work after the budget is sent from Nepal by the board.

However, the embassy also cannot bring workers who need to be rescued. While some Nepalese embassies also have separate rooms for women, most do not have such ‘safe accommodation’ for male personnel.

Lamichhane says, “Until such a process of the government is completed, the workers are stuck in another problem and the legal becomes illegal.” such a process.”

He said that Nepalis who are working illegally are not considered as Nepalis and that is the reason why many Nepalis are dying abroad as ‘non-citizens’.

Foreign employment expert Rameshwar says that the Nepalese embassy in the Gulf of Nepal and Malaysia has reached a state of disrepair. ‘This problem will not be solved until the embassy is equipped with resources’, he says. ‘Policies and methods should be devised to increase the strength and morale of the defense system.’

He said that the embassies do not have enough manpower to provide services to the more than 25 lakh Nepalis abroad when they face problems. “The prime minister should focus on keeping the government’s rescue system in good shape,” he said.

PNCC general secretary Lamichhane also says that the rescue system is in a state of disarray. Lamichhane says, “Embassies should be given adequate budgets and easy and fast ways to rescue them quickly.”

Source: OnlineKhabar

Himal Sanchar