More than 50% outbound workers unskilled, risk looms further

Sabina Karki

March 10, 2020


More than 50% outbound workers unskilled, risk looms further

KATHMANDU: The state’s failure to keep its promises about the increase in domestic job opportunities and the ineffective programs launched in the name of providing skills to outbound workers have pushed more than 450 thousand youths every year to extreme work conditions.

Sans proper training they are risking their lives for the pay 10 times less than their skilled coworkers. Among the outbound workers, only 25% are skilled.

Millions of youths are toiling hard in strange lands cursing their fate and the government that failed to generate employment opportunities in their native land.

Lack of government policy that holds it mandatory for any foreign job aspirants to take training prior to going outside for a job has cost a lot.

The unskilled youths hardly get good jobs and lucrative salary, rather they are deployed in risky menial jobs.

1.64 million Youths took institutional and individual work permits (including renewal) From FYs 2016/17 to 2018/19. Among them, the DoFE believes, only 29% skilled. The number of skilled women workers is poorer in those days. Out of 97,310 women who took permission for foreign employment in the same period from 2016/17 to 20181/19 only 25% were skilled.

Workplace is better for  skilled workers

Prabin Kumar Tamang from Ramechhap believes it very important to be skilled prior to leaving the country for foreign employment.

“Whatever work we are going for, we should think about the skills required for them,” Tamang says, “there are many institutions which offer the job training required working abroad.”

Pravin came to Kathmandu 3 years ago. Dubai was his promising job market. He attended driving classes in Kathmandu as preparation for his job. “Immediately after coming to Kathmandu I learned driving,” he said to Khabarhub, “I went to UAE with driving skill and my skills have paid me well.”

Tamang is in Nepal in his one-month-long vacation now, his advice to all foreign job aspirants is ‘Equip yourselves before you go the market.’

1,500 women reimbursed

The women aspirants in foreign employment are increasing every year. The data at the DoFE show lately 25000-30000 women leave for foreign employment every year. Sadly, most of them go untrained and are exploited very badly.

For orientation, each aspirant of foreign employment has to pay 700 rupees. In the case of women, the Foreign Employment Promotion Board (FEPB) offers reimbursement.  Once, the women submit their certificates of the orientation they are paid back the amount they had paid for it before.

Dina Bandhu Subedi, the information officer at the Board told Khabarhub that the board reimbursed 1.036 million rupees to 1480 women in FY 2018/19 alone.

“Similarly,’ he said, “the Board has reimbursed 1062 women in the first 7 months of this fiscal year.”

New curriculum not enforced

The department has revised the formerly 2 days (10 hrs.) orientation training mandatory to all foreign job aspirants and added some new issues to it making it days or 18 hrs. training. The new curriculum has included gender and contemporary issues but unfortunately, the long-awaited revised curriculum has not been put into effect yet.

The board had promised to revise the curriculum and bring new into effects soon, but much water has flown in Bagmati since it was first said. The slackness in introducing a new curriculum has impacted many aspiring migrant workers. The board had even instructed to increase the reimbursement in proportion to the hours added.

However, the Foreign Employment Promotion Board (FEPB) says the ball is at the court of Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security. “The decisions regarding changed curriculum are to be made at Ministry level,” the FEPB sources said, “but, the slackness there has stalled all the procedures ahead.”

“Lately, there is the plan to conduct orientation in 2 days and that also without increasing the charge,” Subedi said, “the decision is to come from the Council of Ministers, once it comes, we’ll take it for implementation.”

Prevalent provisions

The aspirants for foreign employment are offered orientation training since 2003. The government launched the orientation campaign by establishing 8 different institutions on Jun 17, 2003.

Under this campaign, 116 organizations in Kathmandu and 42 organizations on the outskirts are running orientation programs.

According to the Board, the training introduces the prospective migrant workers’ knowledge about the geography, culture and religion, lifestyle, tradition, related laws and bylaws, focal points in SOS situations etc.

The courses included in the curriculum cover topics ranging from preparation, safe foreign employment and safe journey, security, occupational safety and health, Nepalese legal provisions on foreign employment, list of countries open for foreign employment, financial transactions, frauds and the measures against it, etc.

Mandatory provisions, fragile implementation

The mandatory provisions meant for the outbound workers have a poor implementation status.

Most of the youths heading for foreign employment do not take the complete course. Some of them get the course completion certificate without attending the classes.

Most of the manpower companies arrange for the certificates of participation. They fear the precautions taught during the orientation could make their prospective clients skeptical about their motives; they dread their undue charges can also become public, hence, the manpower agencies keep the aspirants for outbound labor away from the training.

Ritesh Roka Chhetri, Baglung told Khabarhub that he was provided the certificate from the manpower agency itself.

“They took the charge for orientation and said would arrange for the certificates themselves, all I had to do was give them the money,” he said. Outbound for Malaysia for the third time now, he said he was completely in dark about the risk factors at the workplace when he reached their for work for the first time five years before.

Thus, the mandatory provisions are made a mockery by the manpower agencies and even the assigned orientation centers. Unless such provisions are enforced strictly suing the involved in corruption, tears in the eyes of the victims of foreign employment will never dry.

When inquired about the mockery of the provisions, the Board assured that with the new laws everything shall be curbed and the foreign employment will be made safe and promising as well.

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