Feb 26, 2016- Hundreds of foreign employment aspirants were affected on Thursday after foreign employment recruiting agencies, usually called manpower companies, shut their offices, making a bizarre claim that their offices were raided by police “without any prior information”.
The Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies (Nafea), the umbrella organisation of recruiting agencies, has even warned that it would disrupt all foreign employment related services for an indefinite period “if police continued raids”.
The Metropolitan Police Crime Division on Wednesday raided 18 manpower companies on suspicion of duping foreign employment aspirants. A total of 12 persons were arrested. Eight have been remanded to 10-day custody while four have been sent to the Department of Labour for further investigation.
Nafea has claimed that more than 20 recruiting agencies operating in the Kathmandu Valley have been raided in the past few days “without prior information”.
Nepal Police said the manpower companies were raided based on the complaints filed against them for swindling and exploiting foreign employment aspirants.
According to police, dozens of complaints related to fraud have been filed against different manpower companies through Nepal Police’s hotline service.
Stating that they were “being treated like criminals”, Nafea representatives said deliberate attempts were being made to “displace us”.
“We are under attack from all sides. It is a ploy to finish off agencies,” said Bimal Dhakal, chairman, Nafea, adding that recruiting agencies are now left with no option than to stop providing services.
More than 50 recruiting agencies in Kathmandu have submitted their operation license to Nafea, demanding that office bearers “take concrete steps to end police raj”.
Claiming that only the Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE) is authorised to deal with cases related to foreign employment, Dhakal said, “Police were taking law unto their own hands.” But the Foreign Employment Act states that the DoFE Tribunal shall have handle the cases related to foreign employment, and Nepal Police shall handle cases under Anti Human Trafficking Act and other acts related to fraud cases.
When asked about police raids, DoFE officials declined to comment. They, however, repeated the bureaucratic refrain that “we will intensify monitoring of recruiting agencies to control fraud cases”. Foreign employment related fraud has become too common across the country due concerned agencies’ failure to take concrete measures.
Police in recent years have found involvement of several agencies in human trafficking in the name of foreign employment. Though Nepal has relatively stronger Foreign Employment Act and Anti Human Trafficking Act, the implementation remains very weak.
On Thursday, hundreds of foreign employment aspirants were affected after the recruiting agencies decided to shut their offices. Dhurba Subedi of Ramechhap, who is all set to return to Qatar, where he has been working, later this month, said he could not complete his paper work on Thursday.
“It would have hardly taken 10 minutes. I am going to rejoin my office in Qatar, but the [manpower] office asked me to come tomorrow,” said Subedi, uncertain whether his work will be completed on Friday.
8 of 12 arrestees sent to custody
Kathmandu District Court on Thursday remanded eight foreign employment agency operators to 10 days in custody, charging them with fraud. Of the total 12 persons arrested during raids carried out by police on manpower companies, four have been sent to the Department of Labour for further investigation.
The Metropolitan Police Crime Division (MPCD) had raided 18 manpower companies on suspicion of duping foreign employment aspirants on Wednesday.
The DoFE is authorised to file cases against the arrestees after investigation.
SSP Sarbendra Khanal, chief of the MPCD, said the raids were conducted on manpower companies in New Baneshwor, Gaushala, Sinamangal, Basundhara, Lazimpat, Gongabu and Chandol among other places.
“We had been keeping an eye on some manpower companies and found their activities suspicious. About others, we had received complaints from foreign employment aspirants that they were being cheated and that some of the companies were even involved in human trafficking,” said SSP Khanal. “The companies involved in illicit activities will be booked.”
Police identified the arrestees as Subash Rai and Kanchan Rai of Innovative Human Resource, Kupandole; Kalpana Raut of Bheri Karnali International, Kathmandu-7; Shobha Karki of Nepal Recruiting Services, Dhumbarahi; Nawaraj Chaulagain of Kabeli Human Resources, Pingalasthan; Raghunath Puri of The River Overseas, Gaushala; Anil Kumar Rai of Movira Overseas and Dinesh Shrestha of Gorkha Nepal Placement, Basundhara. The four persons who have been sent to Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE) are Anuj Raj Pradhan of Shikhar International Manpower, Lazimpat; Yam Budhathoki of Lifeline Overseas, Samakhusi; Mohamad Miya of Sanna International, Pingalsthan and Dil Kumar Shrestha of All Secure Manpower, Sinamangal.