Nepal to bring foreign workers under scanner

January 13, 2014 - 6:48:01 am
Kathmandu: The Nepal government yesterday announced that it will heighten vigilance over foreign nationals working in the Himalayan country without work permit and penalise them if they violate the law, officials said.

In order to check the unnecessary flow of foreign nationals (except for tourists) in the country’s formal and informal sectors, Nepal’s Ministry of Labour and Employment and the department of labour yesterday asked all foreign nationals to receive a labour permit within 90 days, Xinhua reported.

Any foreigner approaching to get the work permit during the grace period of 90 days will be exempted of his dues including income tax, immigration fee, and visa charge, according to the announcement.

“After the end of the grace period, if any foreign national is found to be doing his job in Nepal without taking a work permit, the individual will be brought to book and penalised as per the law,” Krishna Hari Puskar, director general of the department of labour said yesterday.

He said the department will examine all firms that have hired foreign nationals. “Any foreigners, who are found to be violating the law will be fined in cash or imprisoned or both while they might also be chased out of Nepal.”

The government move came amid an increasing trend of foreigners visiting Nepal with a tourist visa, but staying and working in the country illegally, which the department of labour estimated has caused a loss of $40m annually in taxes.

There are an estimated 50,000 foreigners working in Nepal illegally in different sectors such as NGOs, diplomatic missions, hydropower, construction, banking, telecom, airlines, hospitality and educational institutions.

“However, only 9,920 foreigners so far have received work permit from the department of labour, of whom more than 80 percent are Chinese nationals,” Barun Kumar Jha, director of the department said.