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Global meltdown affecting foreign employment Jun-10-2010
The number of Nepali workers leaving for foreign employment tumbled by 17 percent during the first eight months of this fiscal year as compared to the same period last year.

The Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE) revealed that the number of Nepali workers flying for overseas employment during the period stood at 126,812 over 152,682 registered previously.

The growing retrenchment being resorted to by major destination countries of Nepali workers to cope up with the global economic crisis is ascribed to this downward spiral.

Additionally, according to the Association of Nepal Foreign Employment Agencies, more than 3,000 Nepali migrant workers have already returned from Malaysia, Dubai, Qatar and Macau.

The number of daily departures during the first eight months of the last year was 656 whereas the number dwindled to 402 during the same period this year. The pace of Nepali workers going abroad has slowed down drastically as the countries absorbing foreign labour force are increasing reeling under the yoke of the financial crisis.

Notably, the number of Nepali migrant workers leaving for Malaysia - the second most preferred destination - is also witnessing a steep decline.

The decision of the Malaysian government not to recruit foreign migrant workers in the manufacturing and service sectors from January has cast blight on the trend of Nepali workers going to the country, according to labour experts.

Similarly, a recent decision by Malaysian authorities to double the levy on bringing in labour is aimed at discouraging hiring of foreign workers and increasing the salaries of locals in the long run.

It is feared that this move may render over 375,000 foreign and local workers in 25,000 Indian, Muslim and Chinese food outlets jobless.

According to Malaysian officials, their aim is to reduce foreign workers by as much as half a million by next year.

Currently, the total number of Nepalis working in Malaysia stands at 400,000. Most of them are engaged in the construction and agriculture sectors whereas some are in service and other sectors.

Meanwhile, there are only five staffers at the Nepalese Embassy in Malaysia despite a huge number of Nepalis there. Nepali migrant workers in Malaysia have face depression and other problems as there is no labor agreement between Nepal and Malaysia and the Nepalis there are deprived of things like visa renewal process and various others including insurance policies, according to some labour experts.

With Malaysia announcing massive jobs cut for foreign employees, Nepal has recently started consultations with Kuala Lumpur through various channels to ensure that its citizens working in the Southeast Asian country do not fall victims to the move. nepalnews Mar 16 09