Labor Migration Agents: Regulation, Accountability and Alternatives
Eleanor Taylor-Nicholson, Sarah Paoletti, Bandita Sijapati
and Bassina Farbenblum
The extensive use of unregulated labor migration agents is a common policy challenge in migrant labor origin countries. While agents provide migrant workers with much-needed information, connections to recruitment agencies, and positions abroad, they are also associated with a host of problems including fraud and misinformation. Agents are also frequently family or friends of migrant workers and are able to exploit these relationships of trust to defraud workers and avoid accountability. Nepal’s laws and foreign employment claims mechanisms do not ensure that migrant workers receive the compensation they are owed from agents, or that bad actors are punished. This brief discusses existing options for holding foreign employment agents accountable in Nepal, why these mechanisms are largely ineffective, and recommendations for reform.