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Work permits to be issued online beginning Monday

Kathmandu, January 15, 2017: The Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE) is all set to start issuing working permit online starting Monday to make the foreign employment recruitment process “faster, easier and transparent”.

It is mandatory for Nepali migrants to obtain to work permit from the government.

The DoFE first started issuing work permit online in December, targeting workers going through the institutional channel.

DoFE Spokesperson Rama Bhattarai said now the online system will cover all workers including those going through individual channel.

Migrants going abroad in re-entry category and legalisation category can also apply online now.

Re-entry category refers to workers rejoining the same company after the end of the first contract.

The legalisation category means giving work approval to workers who previously went abroad without obtaining work permit.

The online frontline service is likely to make it easier for migrants to get prompt service and lessen the work burden of the DoFE’s frontline office that sees around 2,500 service seekers each day. The DoFE has only 200 staff.

Some stakeholders including migrants, however, appear still sceptical that the digital service would make any difference as service seekers will still be forced to come to Kathmandu. Moreover, they also laid stress on the need of mobilising volunteers to help people to apply online, as a large number of Nepalis are still computer illiterate.

Recruiting agencies said that the online system could make the process easy and fast, as there will be less paperwork.

With the introduction of online system, the department has been issuing work approval within a week after pre-approval. It used to take around 15 days to two months for issuing final work approval after receiving the pre-work approval.

Pre-work approval broadly refers to the process of accrediting job demand letter from the DoFE.

But the recruiting agencies said that workers are still forced to come to Kathmandu to take pre-departure orientation, training and health check-ups.

Stakeholders have been demanding decentralisation of DoFE’s frontline service for a long time.

“The entire system should be decentralised as the current recruitment process is lengthy and costly. For example, thousands of workers have been stuck in Kathmandu for the past few weeks due to the row over fee for medical check-ups. Migrants are forced to spend a lot of money in transportation, food and accommodation,” said Chairman of Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies Bimal Dhakal.