Foreign job firms against biometric health screening

Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies (NAFEA) has expressed reservation about the government decision to begin biometric health screening for workers going to Malaysia. In a statement issued on Saturday, NAFEA urged the government to suspend biometric health screening, arguing that it was against the common good of migrant workers.

Biometric screening is a fingerprint scanning system with security features to match an individual’s identity with his/her data recorded in the passport.

Malaysia, the largest work destination of Nepali workers with daily outflow of 500-600 workers each day, started the biometric health screening in Nepal and Bangladesh from January 15.

According to Nepal Foreign Employment Medical Association (NeFEMA), 38 medical companies accredited for biometric screening are offering biometric health screening service in the country for Rs 2,500.

NAFEA has said warned that the system will promote syndicate culture for the benefit of a few powerful people.

“This association strongly appeals the government to scrap the system and demand action against those involved in it.

The new health system is against the migrant workers and overseas employment recruiting agencies. It will only add burden upon poor migrant,” read the statement issued by Kamal Tamang, NAFEA general secretary.

NAFEA has also submitted a memorandum to Prime Ministers’ Office, District Administration Office and Ministry of Labour and Employment in this regard.

The medical facilities authorised to conduct health check-ups of aspiring migrant workers have also stood against the new system.

They have said that they cannot obtain the accreditation since the equipment required for the service is expensive.

Earlier this week, senior government officials, including State Labour Minister Tek Bahadur Gurung, had told the Post that the government was planning to allow biometric health screening, given the readiness of Malaysia to authorise further medical centres without increasing the service’s cost.

According to Malaysian news reports, almost two-third of 30,000 new foreign workers passing medical tests in their home countries fail the second test in Malaysia.

Source: eKantipur