Kathmandu - While the number of Nepali migrant workers going abroad in search of better job opportunities increases year by year, unethical recruitment leaves many vulnerable to unfair working conditions, exploitation and trafficking. A consultation meeting held jointly by the Government of Nepal and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) with foreign employment agencies in Kathmandu on Wednesday marked a significant step towards ensuring their protection.
In Nepal, the Foreign Employment Act of 2007 allows only licensed ‘sub-agents’ to recruit migrant workers on behalf of employers. In reality, migrants are often deceived by rogue recruitment agencies, which might demand excessive fees for their services, confiscate passports or produce unofficial documentation, increasing the risk of abuse and exploitation by employers.
“Unethical recruitment has negative consequences for all stakeholders in international recruitment, from Nepali migrant workers and their employers to the ethical recruiters who are unfairly disadvantaged,” pointed out Mr. Maurizio Busatti, IOM Nepal Chief of Mission.
Following an analysis of recruitment monitoring in Nepal, IOM recommended the creation of a new monitoring unit and standard operating procedures (SOP). IOM also presented its ‘International Recruitment Integrity System’ (IRIS) initiative, which aims to bring together international recruiters and employers to establish and cooperate on recruitment ethics and fair standards of operation.
“By agreeing to abide by a common code of ethical conduct, all stakeholders will have assurances that their counterparts are delivering fair and transparent services. This can benefit not only migrant workers but also recruiters and employers, and maximize the benefit of labour migration,” continued Maurizio Busatti.
The consultation was chaired by Mr. Suresh Man Shrestha, Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE) with the support of the European Union and the IOM Development Fund in the context of the EU funded project “Strengthening Labour Migration Management Capacities in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nepal and the Philippines for Replication in Other Colombo Process Member States”. Representatives from the MoLE, the Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE) and the Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies (NAFEA) participated in the session.
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