14 January 2016, The Kathmandu Post

Has the free-visa-free-ticket policy distracted Nepali migrant workers from going abroad for jobs?

Recruiting agencies may say yes, but official figures show otherwise.
Data of the Department of Foreign Employment, a government body that provides frontline service to aspirant migrants, show that it received a total of 481,480 job demands in the first five months of the current fiscal year. But during that period, only 174,926 Nepalis actually took overseas job, which is barely 36.5 percent of the total job demand of the labour receiving countries from across the globe. The numbers also show that Nepal was able to supply barely 40 percent workforce of the total demand despite receiving over a million job demands each year for the last three years.
The statistics contradict the claims of recruiting agencies and other lobbyists who insist that the free-vista-free-ticket policy has failed to lure Nepali workers into flying abroad for jobs, despite the fact that the policy was adopted to facilitate the aspiring migrants.
The recruiting agencies have long been lobbying against the free-visa-free-ticket scheme.
The policy that was put into force on July 8 last year makes it binding for employers of seven labour receiving countries—Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman—that they provide free air ticket and visa.
The government’s policy had come as a great respite for migrant workers who are forced to pay hefty sums to get a job abroad. But recruiting agencies in cahoots with a section of government officials are trying to get the scheme scrapped, and hence are involved in twisting facts and figures. Concerned stakeholders said the panic on part of the recruiting agencies is understandable, given the fact that they were earlier allowed to charge up to Rs80,000 as recruitment fee to send migrants to the Gulf and Malaysia.


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