Good to see this official letter just issued, even if it’s on paper alone and not enforced/acted upon in reality. This is a general Nepal government (ministry of labour) letter to all licensed recruitment agencies in Nepal. Basically the letter mentions that the Nepal government has received information (it’s widely known for a long time anyhow) about unhealthy and abusive competition to get manpower demands between Nepali and Malaysian agencies/employers. Crucially the letter also highlights the illegal (and also very widely known) process of financial kickbacks (often cash handed over in person or via the illegal hundi banking systems) from Nepalese agencies to Malaysian agencies and Malaysian employers (or their intermediaries) which is against the MOU signed between two governments. The MOU on labour deployment between Nepal and Malaysia, signed in 2018, requires Malaysian employers to cover most of the costs of recruitment including Nepal manpower agent service fees, flights etc. The Nepal agents have to in reality pay big money to Malaysian actors (employers/agents) to secure their manpower demands, which they then recoup from the desperate workers. The Nepal government is therefore asking its manpower agencies as a result of this situation to submit within a week: 1. full details of all deployed workers to Malaysia with employer’s detail after MOU between Malaysia and Nepal was signed in 2018; 2. Full financial transaction information of the deployed workers with evidence of air fare payments, service fees payment and other related costs already paid by employers for all these workers. Should be very interesting to see the results here. The Malaysian agents, employers and intermediaries (including surely officials in complicity) have taken and continue to take so much illicit money/kickbacks from Nepali manpower agents in cash and through hundi systems to pass manpower demands to Nepali agents, which has eventually resulted in massive costs for the workers. And of course this system leads always to the ridiculous claim from Malaysia side that ‘it’s nothing to do with us as the money was all taken from workers in source countries like Nepal!’ (even if most of the money collected in Nepal from workers ends up in Malaysian pockets). Let’s hope we can expose the real and systemic extent of the illegal and extortionate manpower recruitment kickbacks process between source country agents (in countries like Nepal) and the Malaysian agents/employers/officials through this process (as explained easily in https://publications.iom.int/books/transnational-culture-corruption-migrant-labour-recruitment)
About The Author
Mr. Andy Hall is an international migration specialist, labor rights activist and researcher based in Asia.