Nepal and Malaysia are due to sign a labour agreement in two weeks’ time. The two countries will sign the bilateral agreement on October 29, according to Mahesh Prasad Dahal, secretary at the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security.
He calls the planned deal, coming after months of negotiations, a “landmark achievement” in managing the foreign employment sector for Nepalis. “The document will be perceived as a benchmark for signing similar agreements with other countries,” Dahal said.
The pact will be signed at the ministerial level. M Kulasegaran, human resources minister of Malaysia, will come to Nepal on October 28 for the deal.The deal will resume migrant departures for Malaysia, the most preferred labour destination among Nepali workers. The process to send Nepalis to work in Malaysia has been suspended for nearly five months now.But labour export will take some more time to resume as technical teams of both the countries will be developing mechanisms for sending workers as provisioned in the new deal.
“After the ministers sign the labour agreement, technical teams will discuss the mechanism for resuming the outflow of Nepali workers. Based on their recommendations, the hiring of Nepali workers will begin soon,” Dahal said.
The Labour Ministry claims that the new deal will put an end to the financial exploitation of poor Nepali workers in the pre-departure phase. The labour pact spells out the roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders—recruiting agencies, employers, and the two governments.
“The labour deal guarantees maximum services and safety of Nepali workers in Malaysia. Other than the passport fee, most of the expenses like visa, processing, levy and others will be covered by the employer as envisaged in the Global Compact on Migration that says the host country or the employer pays for the expenses,” said Dahal.
Once the new agreement comes into force, employers will be responsible for all the expenses of workers’ preparations for taking up jobs in Malaysia, including round-trip flight tickets.The fees for security clearance and health check-up will, however, be covered by workers during hiring process. But the expenses will be reimbursed in the first month of the worker landing in Malaysia, according to Dahal.
Besides, Malaysian employers will pay recruiting agencies the service charge—the sum equivalent to 15 days of the particular worker’s pay. Unlike the previous three-year labour contract, workers will now get only a two-years deal.