Nepal Government’s ‘free visa, free ticket’ scheme for easing the financial burden of migrants is not paying off its due benefits to the needy.
The Office of the Auditor General (OAG) said this in its recent report, where it pointed out that the scheme still lacks implementation and migrant workers continue to pay hefty amounts to recruitment agencies.
“The Department of Foreign Employment has not monitored whether the employer or recruiting agencies have paid for airfare, insurance, and visa fees,” read the OAG report findings revealed on April 12, 2019.
The government fails to implement the scheme even four years after the official announcement to ease migrant workers’ financial burden.
The scheme was launched with a mandate that employers will bear the visa and air travel expenses for workers going for employment in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, and Malaysia.
The workers will just need to pay for medical tests, orientation training and recruiting agencies for their services.
Despite the scheme’s implementation, thousands of migrant workers are still paying amounts to recruitment agencies for jobs in foreign destinations.
“Implementation of free visa and free ticket scheme was never on the priority list of the government. The political commitment on the part of the government has lacked because of the fact that its implementation will hurt the recruiting agencies,” says Barun Ghimire, programme manager at the Law and Policy Forum for Social Justice.
The scheme remains pending despite the Forum’s pleas to Supreme Court and further judgment by the apex court for early enforcement of the same.
“The government agencies have so far side-lined the implementation of this scheme. This tendency shows the state’s old habit of leaving things at status quo,” adds Ghimire.
Prior to this in 2017, the parliamentary International Relations and Labor Committee had also concluded the scheme as a complete failure.
It’s surprising that the migrant workers are paying around NPR 50,000-900,000 for overseas jobs even after the scheme’s announcement.
“If the government wants to strictly enforce the policy, it easily can. At least, the government authorities can raid recruiting agencies regularly which will send a strong message to those involved in charging heavy amount to poor migrant workers,” says Ghimire.
Stay tuned for more updates on ‘Nepali migrants concerns’!