Kathmandu, Nov 16,2014: A Malaysian private company operating in Nepal with local partnership has been found to be illegally extracting extra money from the Nepalese workers in the name of immigration process charge.
The company Ultra Kirana SDM BHD assigned the Nepali company Visa Luna Negaro (VLN) to operate immigration process through the software for the Nepalese workers going to Malaysia after an agreement was reached between the two companies on October 25, 2013.
Since then the VLN, setting up an office on the top floor of the Malaysian Embassy at Pulchowk, Kathmandu, has been charging Rs 3,900 per person as visa charge, which was just Rs 700 before. This has become an additional economical burden for the Nepalese workers going to Malaysia.
VLN ought to take the written permission from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Labor and Employment (MoLE) prior to its operation. However, it is running with a mere registration at the office of Company Registrar and the Office of Cottage and Small Scale Industries, which according to the spokesperson of the MoLE, Buddhi Bahadur Khadka, is illegal.
Spokesperson Khadka admitted that no action has been taken yet against the VLN although MoLE long ago drew the attention of MoFA to address the issue at the diplomatic level.
VLN as of now has made Rs one billion including 82 million from the 2,60000 Nepalese workers who applied for work permit visa.
Division of Foreign Employment’s Statistics shows that some 1,000 people have been flying to Malaysia on a daily basis. In another word, the company is making some Rs 3.2 million per day in the name of rendering immigration service.
According to Chairman of the International Relations and Labor Committee under the Legisalature-Parliament Prabhu Shah, during the company’s registration, the VLN, showed itself as a company that develops the software and its jurisdiction is to provide the very software for the immigration visa process. But VLN has been literally providing the visa itself employing some nine staffs.
“First, it itself is an illegal act, secondly the intention of the company is nothing more than making easy money,” Shah said.
Furthermore, the service provided by the company is very slow.
“The embassy earlier used to take a week at utmost to provide visa, but the VLN is taking double the time, ” he added, “It shows that the company came into operation with an ulterior motive of making money rather that really rendering the service.”
Kumar Shrestha, the Director of VLN, speaking to RSS said the company is only registered in the Company Registrar and the Office of Cottage and Small Scale Industries and registered at the Tax Revenue Office.
According to Director Shrestha, the company has already paid Rs 190 million as tax to the Nepal government.
He said that according to the pact with Ultra Kirana SDM BHD, out of Rs 3,200 extra charge on a regular visa charge of the embassy, VLN only gets Rs 155. Rest of the amount goes to Ultra Kirana SDM BHD.
Shrestha said that he will not have any qualm if both the government ofÂ Nepal and Malaysia introduce a new system for visa process.
While the Director said that he has no objection over the introduction of the another system for the visa, the former president of the Foreign Employment Entrepreneurs Association, Bal Bahadur Tamang, accused the government of not taking any concrete action against theÂ VLN.
Tamang has it that the government is turning its blind eye towards VLN although its credibility has been questioned by the International Relations and Labor Committee.
Amid this, the company, which could be scrapped anytime for its illegal operation, continues to charge Rs 3,200 extra from destitute Nepali workers seeking greener pasture in Malaysia.
And thus the making of moolah continues from an illegal act as the government continues to turn its blind eye towards it.
(Translated by Rosha Basnet)