Agents add to Nepali migrants’ expenses / ekantinpur

  • Jobs in Malaysia


KATHMANDU, MAR 15 – The entry of agents of the Malaysian government one after another to Nepal’s internal recruitment sector since 2013 is increasing the costs for Nepali migrant workers to find jobs in the South East Asian country.

Malaysia, the largest foreign job destination for Nepalis, has already introduced two of its agents in Nepal’s recruitment market and prepares to bring in at least three more agents, curtailing the access of the labour supplying country and private stakeholders to the process.

Nepali migrant workers, mainly security guards, are paying one third extra in recruitment fees owing to the entry of Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd, a visa processing agent, and Teleport Sdn Bhd, an agent providing mandatory training to Malaysia-bound security guards.

Even when Malaysia looks determined to “control” the entire recruitment process, the Nepali side is reluctant to stand up to the bid due to “monetary gains and business interests”.

“No one in power in both the government and private sectors is ready to resist these agents even though Malaysia looks set to operate a parallel department to send workers to Malaysia. We are failing to do anything as everyone at the helm is securing their own business interest,” said a source at the Ministry of Labour and Employment.

State Minister for Labour Tek Bahadur Gurung, who owns a recruiting agency, has led his “silent support” to the arrival of these agents.

Gurung had also hinted support for the entry of Bestinet Sdn Bhd, a Malaysia-based IT firm selected as an agent for biometric health screening. Highly-placed government sources said one of Gurung’s relatives operates one of the six training centres selected by the agent to provide security guard training in Nepal.

Malaysia has long been preparing to introduce two agents in Nepal under the Foreign Workers Centralised Management System (FWCMS) and biometric health check-ups. Malaysian Immigration Department had earlier directed Bestinet to suspend its work alongside the FWCMS.

Private stakeholders, including the Nepal Foreign Employment Medical Association (Nefema) and Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies (Nafea), are still lobbying to bring in other agents despite strong resistance within their associations.

“Representatives from Bestinet have been meeting parliamentarians opposing the system to convince them. Prabhu Sah and other officials are supposed to meet Bestinet officials in Malaysia on March 15,” said a source.

Bestinet had chosen 39 medical centres in Nepal to provide biomedic health screening of which two medical hospitals belonged to Kailash Khadka, Nefema chairman. Nafea Chairman Hamsa Raj Wagle had also supported a number of agents.

“This was the reason why we withdrew our support and submitted our resignation. He supported these agents despite our refusal. I have heard that Malaysia is soon introducing the mandatory pre-departure orientation training charging each worker around Rs 8,500,” Kumud Khanal, who worked as a core Nafea member, told the Post in a recent interview.

Stakeholders in Nepal say Malaysia is also preparing to introduce another agent to provide mandatory orientation classes for out-bound workers. Teleport has been providing mandatory pre-departure training for Nepali security guards since January. The company is charging RM600 (Rs 18,500 including tax) for the training provided through six security companies based in Nepal.

Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd was the first Malaysian agent to enter Nepal with a visa processing duty at the Malaysian Embassy in  Kathmandu . Visa processing fee for Malaysia rocketed from Rs 700 to Rs 3, 900 after its arrival in November 2013.

Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd is working in partnership with the Hong Kong-based Ultratech (HK) Limited and Malaysia VLN Nepal, a company based in Nepal.

Though the Bestinet Sdn Bhd was planning to conduct health check-up for usual fees in the initial phase, concerned stakeholders say they plan to increase the fee after the piloting phase. Each set of equipment required for biomedical test costs almost $ 8,000 (around Rs 800,000).

Buddhi Bahadur Khadka, chief of the foreign employment division of the ministry, said the ministry stands against all systems that add additional burden on workers and attempt to subvert domestic laws.

“The ministry had opposed the entry of all these agents in writing and sent it to Malaysia,” said Khadka, adding that the ministry had expressed written disagreement against both the Bestinet Sdn Bhd and the Teleport.

Nepal has fixed Rs 80,000 as the maximum fee for recruitment in Malaysia but migrants are forced to pay much higher. An estimated 700,000 Nepalis are working in Malaysia.

Posted on: 2015-03-15 08:38


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