The government is preparing to lower the ceiling for fees that aspirant overseas workers pay to recruitment firms.
The Ministry of Labor and Employment is mulling over lowering the ceiling realizing that many manpower firms were overcharging youth heading to different overseas destinations.
Minister of State for Labor and Employment Tek Bahadur Gurung told Republica that the government has initiated the process of lowering the ceiling for fee to be paid to recruitment agencies.
“We have learnt that many recruitment firms are charging aspirant youth above the ceiling fixed by the government. We are preparing to slash the fee as many countries are offering free quotas as well as free flight tickets”” Gurung said.“”We have also intensified inspection at the airport to make sure that foreign-bound workers are not charged on free quotas.”
Recruitment agencies, however, claim that they were levying a fee below the ceiling set by the government.“”As manpower firms have been getting higher demands from destination countries, particularly the Gulf countries, with low charges and in most cases on free quotas as well as free tickets, we send workers on charges far below the ceiling set by the government”” Tanka Raut, former vice-president of Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies (NAFEA), told Republica. He, however, agrees that recruitment agencies levying higher fee on Malaysia-bound workers.
The government has fixed fees of Rs 80,000 for Malaysia, Rs 50,000 for Kuwait, Rs 20,000 for Qatar, and Rs 70,000 for UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Raut said unhealthy competition among manpower firms is one of the reasons behind overcharging of Malaysia-bound workers. “Firms pay higher commission to counterpart agencies to get more quotas. It ultimately passes financial burden on overseas workers,” he said, adding that cost of air tickets and value of dollar as well as administrative costs of recruitment agencies have increased by manifolds compared to a decade ago when the ceiling was fixed.
Though the government has fixed a ceiling of Rs 80,000 for Malaysia, recruitment agencies are charging a minimum of Rs 125,000 per worker.
“We can bring down the fee by reducing service charge imposed on workers by the manpower firms”” Gurung said.
Though the government has allowed manpower firms to levy service charge of Rs 5,000 per worker, recruiting firms are found charging as much as Rs 20,000 from the workers.
Biometric medical test may be enforced from today
Thirty-eight medical firms in the country are likely to enforce the biometric system of medical test for Malaysia-bound workers from Thursday.
Though there is stiff opposition from various quarters, the medical companies, which conduct medical test for Malaysia-bound workers, are enforcing the biometric system.
Claiming that the Malaysian government will host only the workers who have undergone biometric medical test from January 15 onwards, the medical firms have said they were switching to the new system.
The Malaysian government has reportedly appointed Malaysian IT firm Bestinet Sdn Bhd as the agent to enforce biometric medical test in 15 labor sending countries including Nepal from January 15. Medical centers will have to pay US$ 16 per worker to Bestinet Sdn Bhd.
Similarly, the medical firms of Nepal, which are eligible to conduct biometric tests, will have to buy various equipment including computer, web cameras, biometric scanner and software worth millions of rupees as well as annual renewal fee to carry medical tests as per the new system.
However, Bijaya Koirala, vice president of Nepal Health Professional Federation (NHPF), told Republica that there were still confusions regarding the enforcement of the new system.“”While some firms have already enforced the system, there is still confusion about the implementation in all the firms”” she added.“”The government is yet to approve the new system””