Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Laid off migrant workers to be compensated

Migrant workers returning from the Gulf countries and Malaysia due to job cuts there will get compensation."The compensation can be paid after a worker provides enough proof that the lay-off was due to global economic recession," said Sthaneshwor Devkota, executive director of the Employment Promotion Board (EPB).
The recruiting company or Nepali embassy in that country should give in writing that the worker had to return due to economic recession and not due to other reasons, he said adding that the compensation will be borne half by the government and half by the man-power agency that had sent the worker.
The government will provide compensation from the welfare fund set up to protect the migrant workers' rights. "Around Rs 24.5 million is put aside from the welfare fund for compensation," he said adding that if a worker returns after six months, 40 per cent of the expenses would be compensated. Similarly, if a worker returns after a year, 25 per cent of the expenses would be compensated.
However, a three-member committee headed by Devkota, an undersecretary from the Foreign Ministry and the president of Nepal Foreign Employment Agencies' Association Tilak Ranabhat will decide on the compensation claims.Meanwhile, a study team headed by Minister for Transport Management and Labour Lekh Raj Bhatta will leave for Sri Lanka and the Philippines to study the crisis management on how thwy are coping with lay off of their migrany workers. Another team headed by Labour Secretary will visit Dubai, Qatar and Saudi Arabia to study the ground realities.Last friday, the government stopped issuing new work permits to Nepali jobseekers for Malaysia until further notice following an announcement by the Malaysian government to stop recruitment of foreign workers.
Qatar has also reduced its foreign workforce after it felt the heat of economic recession. The Gulf country and the East Asian country have more concentration of Nepali workforce, especially in manufacturing and service sectors.
The suspension of new work permits for Malaysia will hit remittance that had kept the Nepali economy afloat even during the conflict period. Of the total remittance, that from Saudi Arabia tops the list followed by Qatar and Malaysia. The total contribution of remittance to the GDP is 17.4 per cent. If remittance drops by half, the forex and foreign trade will also be hit. The spiralling effect will then hit financial institutions.
Every month, 3,500 Nepali job-seekers used to leave for Malaysia. Of the total foreign workforce in Malaysia, Nepalis comprise a significant 25 per cent. There are 2.1 million foreign workers in Malaysia, of which 0.4 million are Nepali.
The Nepali mission in Malaysia had requested the MoLTM not to issue new permits for Malaysia due to job insecurity for workers. More than 50,000 Nepalis left for Malaysia through official channels during 2007-08.

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