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Focus on Six Euro Nations
Chandan Kumar Mandal
The Kathmandu Post
17 August 2018
A task force, mandated by the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security to find out new labour destination countries, has suggested that Nepal needs to diversify its labour markets beyond Gulf Council Cooperation (GCC) countries and Malaysia.
The panel-led by Udaya Raj Pandey, former Nepali ambassador to Saudi Arabia has suggested employment opportunities for Nepali migrant workers in 19 countries and ship cruises.
The new countries suggested by the task force report are mostly European countries that include Portugal, Romania, Poland, Sweden, Denmark and Czech Republic where they can work in service, agriculture and manufacturing companies. The report recommends countries like Japan, Fiji and Mauritius could be possible job destination for Nepali workers.
Since early the 1990s when Nepali workers took up jobs in foreign countries, a majority have taken jobs in seven countries—Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman; and Malaysia.
According to the Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE), these seven countries have received 86.42 per cent of outgoing Nepali migrant workers between fiscal year 2008-19 and 2016-17 while Nepali workers have received work permits in 153 countries in the period.
Arjun Kharel, migration researcher with the Centre for the Study of Labour and Mobility, who was also a member of the task force, said these countries were recommended after discussions with various stakeholders and studying international labour market—where Nepali workers have been already going or chances of employment is high.
“Understanding of these proposed labour markets can be done by the government through the visit or approaching the host government,” said Kharel.
Portugal and two Indian Ocean island nations—Seychelles and Mauritius—have expressed interest in hiring Nepali workers. Seychelles and Mauritius have even sent draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), to recruit Nepali workers under the Government-to-Government modality.
Experts said while it is good to diversify the labour destinations, the government should to do proper study of these new destinations.
“Sending Nepali workers to these countries without proper study of their labour market and agreement with the host country would rather invite problems. There have been many instances of Nepalis trying to reach these countries through illegal channels either by educational consultancies or agents,” said Kharel, adding that Nepali workers have been victims of human trafficking or left to fend for themselves in foreign countries.