Chandan Kumar Mandal, The Kathmandu Post, 18 May 2018
In a major move likely to provide much-needed relief for Nepali migrants choosing to work in Malaysia, the government has decided to scrap additional fees being charged under various headings.
Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Security Gokarna Bista on Thursday decided to scrap all the fees imposed on Nepali migrant workers as a result of the Malaysian government’s unilateral move to add extra financial burden on them.
With the decision, Nepali workers aspiring to work in Malaysia will not have to pay fees under different headings during visa processing.
Nepali workers are compelled to pay for MiGRAMS, bio-metric medical test, services of the One Stop Centre (OSC) operated by Malaysia VLN Nepal Pvt Ltd, Immigration Security Clearance (ISC), and visa fees, totalling up to Rs18,480 per individual excepting other expenses borne by Nepali workers before landing jobs in Malaysia.
Minister Bista said the government was committed to dismantling all the cartels in the foreign employment sector that exploit poor Nepali migrants.
“Due to a flourishing syndicate in the sector, our workers have to pay additional fees under several headings, which are invalid. We have decided to scrap these illegitimate provisions that only add up thousands of rupees on Nepali workers,” Bista told a press conference organised at the Labour Ministry.
Nepali workers have been paying Rs 3,300 for online registration (MiGRAMS) while other bio-metric identification tests cost them Rs4,500. Other charges include Rs3,164, which is paid at the OSC for collecting workers’ passport and Rs3,616 to the VLN for online data entry.
Besides, one has to pay Rs3,200 for ISC being provided by the GSG Services Nepal and Rs700 in visa fee to the Malaysian embassy.
“Just for collecting passport from workers and delivering them to the embassy, the OSC has been charging workers, which is unacceptable. While visa fees are only Rs700, the VLN has been charging higher for online data entry and processing. We have decided to scrap all these costs. No other charge in the name of visa processing, except for valid visa fees, will be allowed,” said Bista.
Malaysia VLN Nepal Pvt Ltd was appointed by the Malaysian government to provide visa processing services from its embassy in Kathmandu. As the One Stop Centre, they do data entry for Malaysian visa applicants, verify their documents and send the details to the Malaysian Immigration, according to the information posted on official website.
The government has also decided to break the monopoly of health institutions in issuing health certificates to Malaysia-bound workers. Only 39 health institutions conduct health check-ups for Malaysia job seekers.
All the health institutions meeting the set standards will now be permitted to issue medical clearance reports, said the minister.
Since all these provisions came under the Malaysian government’s unilateral policy, Nepal is using diplomatic channels for scrapping the charges levied on Nepali workers.
“We have written to the Foreign Ministry, which will take diplomatic initiatives for seeking the Malaysian government’s cooperation for relieving our workers,” said Bista.
According to Labour Ministry Secretary Mahesh Prasad Dahal the measures imposed by the Malaysian government can be corrected. Such issues should be enforced only after their mention in the Memorandum of Understanding, he added.
Nepal is counting on the newly-elected government in Malaysia led by Mahathir bin Mohamad. “We hope he will address the concerns of our migrant workers by scrapping the illegitimate policies against migrant workers,” said the minister.