After months of deliberation, Nepal and Malaysia have reached closer to a landmark deal as both the governments have agreed on a draft of the labour agreement that will relieve Nepali workers from paying fees for jobs in Malaysia.

The upcoming agreement will be the first such deal between the countries in 14 years of Malaysia opening its doors to Nepali migrant workers.

The meeting between the officials of both countries at Malaysia’s Ministry of Human Resources in Putrajaya, on Friday, concluded on a positive note.

Acting Nepali Ambassador to Malaysia Kumar Raj Kharel said the meeting was successful as both the parties agreed on drawing a draft of the proposed agreement.

“During the meeting, both governments have agreed on the draft of the agreement,” said Kharel, a member of the Nepali delegation visiting the country.

As labour flow to Malaysia has stopped for over four months now, a joint team of Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security; Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and Ministry of Foreign Affairs had left for Malaysia on Wednesday. The Nepali team was also joined by officials from the Nepali embassy in Malaysia.

The upcoming labour pact is a much anticipated deal between the two countries. The bilateral agreement will not only be the first such formal agreement, but the document will also resume the labour migration of Nepali workers to Malaysia which has been disrupted since mid-May. Nepal had previously pushed for such understanding in 2009, 2010 and 2013, but to no avail.

Malaysia had shared a draft of the labour agreement in August, following Nepal’s decision to suspend the departure of Nepali workers to Malaysia. After three rounds of the document’s review by both sides, a decisive meeting between high-level officials was called to reach the final conclusion over the pact.

Both sides have agreed that Nepali workers would not pay during visa processing. The employer would bear all the expenses before the worker sets foot on Malaysia.

“As per the agreement, the employer will be responsible for all the expenses during visa processing,” said Kharel, adding that both the teams also discussed on safety and rights of Nepali workers in Malaysia.

Kharel said the agreement will be signed by ministers of both countries once the internal procedures are taken care of. The pact will put an end to various agencies that charge hefty amount on Malaysia-bound Nepali workers.

The draft document includes the provision like 24-hour insurance security for the workers, payment for a two-way ticket by the employer, and compensation to workers and their families in case of accidents.

Likewise, Nepal also proposed an annual review of the workers’ salary. Hiring of Nepali workers will take place through private recruitment agencies.

Malaysia is one of the most preferred job destinations among Nepali migrant workers. According to the Malaysian Immigration Department, the country currently has a total of 385,000 documented Nepali workers, making Nepal the second largest supplier of foreign labour force. By CHANDAN KUMAR MANDAL, Kathmandu


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the ASEAN Trade Union Council.