Gokarna Bista, Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Security, discussed with the Nepali Times the renegotiated labour agreement with Malaysia and its other efforts to ensure the well-being of Nepalese migrant workers. Excerpts: Our research in this corridor focuses on the nature of migration and resource flows by gender. We also examine the impact of recent agreements and policies in both countries on hiring practices and decision-making and the perception of Nepalese migrant workers at all stages of their journey. The labour agreement further strengthened relations between Nepal and Malaysia. The October agreement between Nepal and Malaysia relieved Nepalese workers of all expenses, including hiring costs, ticket prices, visa fees, medical examinations and security inspection fees that all Malaysian workers had to pay earlier. But the agreement still needs to be implemented because of a number of obstacles, including those related to the medical examination of workers. We are waiting for some Nepalis who we know will come back and come back safely. I can`t get to Nepal in time to find Dasain,” she said. Stories of Nepalese domestic workers who have started receiving work renewals are floating on social media, but that`s not enough to allay their fears. As part of the agreement, the Malaysian team will inspect 86 health facilities – out of 122 by the Nepalese government – to include them in a list of approved medical examination centres. She is one of many domestic workers torn apart by the fact that they have kept their jobs or have kept their children again. Many Nepalese domestic workers send money home so that their children can afford a good education. The persistent delay in reopening Malaysia has been criticized by think tanks and opposition parties as a failure of the government.
Many feared that Nepal would forever lose its most popular work destination. Following this revelation, Minister Bista signed a pioneering moU in 2018 with his counterpart, Mr Kulasegeran, Malaysian Minister of Human Resources. The agreement required employers to pay visa fees and airfares for Nepalese workers, which are now guaranteed in the first week of each month. But it was only last week, when the technical details were drawn up by a joint working committee in Kuala Lumpur, that the door opened for Nepalese workers to return to work in Malaysia. Under the agreement, Nepalese migrant workers who wish to work in Malaysia do not have to pay a fee to work there. Employers are responsible for all expenses on behalf of Nepalese workers, including expenses for reflection services, two-way tickets for travel to Malaysia, visa fees, medical check-up and worker safety investigation. The first investments of workers in medical examinations and security checks will be reimbursed during the first month of their activity in Malaysia. The authorities of the Nepalese and Malaysian authorities yesterday signed an agreement to resume the overseas employment of Nepalese workers in Malaysia. The next working pact is a much-anticipated agreement between the two countries. The bilateral agreement will not only be the first formal agreement of its kind, but it will also resume the migration of Nepalese workers to Malaysia, which has been suspended since mid-May.
Nepal had previously insisted on such an understanding in 2009, 2010 and 2013, but to no avail. The departure of new Nepalese migrant workers to Malaysia has been suspended since the government took tough action against a union that provides various services to Malaysian workers before departure. The two countries then had to appoint new health facilities that only began after the Malaysian side passed on its standard for medical examination in March, five months after the signing of the employment contract in Kathmandu. A new agreement between Nepal and Malaysia is expected to pave the way for the resumption of labour immigration to the Southeast Asian country.