Call for Better Coordination to Protect Nepali Migrants’ Rights

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Kathmandu: Stakeholders working in the area of migration agreed at a meeting held today in Kathmandu that a formal inter-ministerial coordination mechanism is needed to address overall migration governance issues in Nepal.

The meeting was organized by the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security with support from International Organization for Migration (IOM) – the UN Migration Agency – to validate the findings of a Migration Governance Indicators (MGI) assessment, according to a statement released by the IOM in Nepal.

The assessment looks at areas in which Nepal has a ministerial structure in place and clear mandates to deal with a range of migration management issues. It also examines areas of active engagement with partners to address migration and related issues at national, regional and global levels.

In Nepal the Department of Immigration under the Home Ministry is tasked with monitoring, controlling and regulating entry, exit and stay of immigrants. The Consular Services Department under the Foreign Ministry deals with diaspora-related matters. And the Department of Foreign Employment under the Labour Ministry tracks and maintains data on regular migrants abroad.

The report proposes ways to align and raise standards, increase dialogue and put in place necessary structures. It recommends the development of national programmes to manage labour migration based on international labour market demand, and incentives to attract immigrants with specific skills.

Other recommendations include the development of policies to facilitate the reintegration of returnees and engagement with members of the Nepali diaspora. It calls for more private sector engagement with government on migration-related issues and recommends that Nepal actively participates in regional agreements to promote labour mobility.

Addressing the meeting, Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security Joint Secretary Krishna Gnawali highlighted that the government has made it compulsory for any labour demand to obtain attestation from the relevant Nepalese embassies in destination countries and has set up legal assistances to the migrant workers in need in destinations. “The Government is moving towards decentralizing the services to the migrant workers and is preparing to send skilled migrants as per the international labour market”.

“There is no single solution when it comes to migration governance. But given the challenges and opportunities Nepal faces, I hope that the findings will strengthen migration policy-making and contribute to furthering policy coherence,” said IOM Nepal Chief of Mission Paul Norton.

The consultation meeting in Kathmandu was attended by representatives of the government, UN agencies, NGOs, media, and academics working in the field of migration.