KATHMANDU, Nepal- The Department of Labour (DoL) has begun interviewing the foreigners wishing to work in Nepal. The DoL work is in line with the new government policy to curb growing misuse of work permits as foreigners visiting Nepal on a tourist visa and staying back to work, fond involved in criminal activities, unemployment in the country and losses amounting to billions of rupees in income tax and work permit fees.
The government has introduced the strict policy while issuing work permits to foreigners those wish to work in Nepal.
The DoL charges Rs 10,000 a year for a work permit from foreigners and Rs 5,000 from Indian nationals coming to Nepal for employment.
Previously, any non-diplomatic foreign worker in the country used to receive a work permit from the department after fulfilling the set criteria.
According to the department, every foreign national wishing to work in different offices and agencies in Nepal except for diplomatic agencies should go through the interview phase to receive a work permit. The department has reviewed the interview days to Mondays and Fridays for interviewing the applicants. Officials said that they had also arranged for volunteer interviewers according to the language or job nature of the interviewee.
Officials said the department had already interviewed more than two dozen foreigners since the provision was enforced some three weeks ago. After interviewing a number of applicants from the US, Germany, Italy, Korea, China and Bangladesh, the DoL has issued permits to only four individuals.
Earlier, the number of foreigners receiving work permits was higher. A high level official at the department said some 30-40 individuals used to receive work permit s monthly from the department.
There are an estimated 50,000 foreigners working in Nepal illegally in different sectors such as NGOs, INGOs, diplomatic missions, hydropower, construction, banking, telecom, airlines, hospitality and educational institutions. The department estimates that the government is losing around Rs 4 billion annually in taxes from them.
Department officials said that the interviewing process had been adopted as there has been a growing number of foreigners coming to Nepal for one purpose and stay here doing something else and occupying positions in different firms which Nepal is can handle themselves.
The government has few months back intensified undertaking baseline survey of the non-Nepali nationals working in around 300 INGOs, 50 bilateral agencies and United Nations agencies, which have been active in various parts of the country.
According to the department mostly Italian, British and German nationals are in forefront of such number who are working in different sector through they enter on tourist visa.
The Clause 4 (a) of Labor Act, 1991 makes it mandatory for foreigners to receive work permit before applying for jobs in Nepal.
According to the Act, Nepali organizations can hire foreign workers in technical posts – for a maximum of five years – on the recommendations of concerned labor offices only if Nepali workers are unavailable for the posts. The term is seven years for highly skilled posts.
“The companies hiring foreign workers for technical workers should replaced them after a certain period by enhancing the skills and capabilities of Nepali workers,” the act states.
The Ministry of Labor has requested companies and organizations to recruit foreigners only after seeking approval from the department. It has warned the employers of strong action if they are found violating the act in recruiting foreigners.