Nepali migrant workers won’t be able to board their flights to destination countries from the newly built Gautam Buddha International Airport in Bhairahawa—at least not in the immediate future. The government, however, is making preparations to issue labor permits to workers from the city itself. This service is currently available only from the Foreign Employment Office in Tahachal, Kathmandu. As a result, people applying for overseas jobs from across the country are compelled to visit Kathmandu.
Thousands of workers are expected to benefit from the recent decision of the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security to open a branch of Foreign Employment Office in Bhairahawa. It is said the decision is also aimed at supporting the new Bhairahawa airport, as it is expected to get passengers in the form of aspiring migrant workers traveling to get their labor permits.
Labor Minister Kirshna Kumar Shrestha has claimed that all services relating to foreign employment will be made available from Bhairahawa by mid-June.
“Besides opening a branch of Foreign Employment Office, the government will also set up a job orientation center and medical check-up facility for workers,” he said at a function organized by the Bhairahawa Chamber of Commerce and Industry recently.
As the Foreign Employment Office and its services are all centralized, most overseas employment agencies—commonly referred as manpower companies—are also located in Kathmandu, causing inconvenience to their clients, the majority of whom are from outside the Capital city.
Labor migration researchers and workers have long been asking the authorities to decentralize the services of Foreign Employment Office to facilitate the job application process for workers.
Decentralization of services is also expected to reduce the crowd at the Kathmandu-based Foreign Employment Office.
“We have proposed an organization and management survey for opening a foreign employment branch office in Bhairahawa. In the meantime, we plan to offer the services related to foreign jobs by deploying some workers there,” says Danduraj Ghimire, spokesperson for the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security.
Ramesh Aryal, chief of Foreign Employment Office in Tahachal, Kathmandu, says since the branch office cannot be opened without conducting the organization and management survey, they plan to provide services to the migrant workers by setting up a liaison office.
He is positive that migrant workers will soon be able to fly to destination countries from the Bhairahawa airport itself.
“If all foreign employment-related facilities, medical check-up, and job orientation are made available in Bhairahawa, workers can board their flights to destination countries from the Gautam Buddha International Airport,” he says. “This will be possible also because the government has introduced online services regarding foreign employment for those who are applying for jobs on their own.”