The global economic impact of coronavirus pandemic has led to the downfall of the foreign employment agencies in Nepal.
The 854 manpower agencies in the country were collapsed as the business came to a screeching halt five months ago. The companies are not able to send the migrant workers abroad as the labor destinations are in the throes of a recession due to the coronavirus pandemic. Moreover, most Nepali migrant workers have already returned home from various countries as they lost their jobs.
The entire manpower business is in a dire situation as it has to deal with the daily expenses, employee salaries and other business costs.
According to the Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies, around 10,000 employees in the manpower sector have lost their jobs.
Most of the staff is on unpaid leave as the manpower agency owners cannot pay even the rent. At least 50% of the manpower agency owners must have been forced to sell off their ancestral property.
Moreover, the agency owners are in debt as they are forced to take loans in order to pay the ‘increased’ deposit amount last year.
According to the new law, the agencies are supposed to deposit NPR 20 to 60 million (depending on the number of workers sent abroad).
Earlier, it was just NPR 700,000 of cash deposit and NPR 2.3 million of bank guarantee.
So, 854 manpower agency owners across the country deposited the said amount by mid-September last year by taking loans.
If things have gone smoothly, the agencies could have sent a considerable number of workers abroad and made a good income in the last few months. But the pandemic has disrupted their goals.
“But everything is in a mess now. Even labor permits were stopped after March,” exclaimed Sujit Kumar Shrestha, General Secretary of Association.
Even though the Nepali Government has lifted the nationwide lockdown, the manpower companies are unsure when the business will bounce back.