Nepal, Japan ink labour pact

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Acting Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security, Ram Prasad Dahal (right) and Japanese ambassador to Nepal, Masamichi Saigo (left) sign memorandum of cooperation in presence of Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Security Gokarna Bista, in Kathmandu, on Monday, March 25, 2019. Photo: Balkrishna Thapa Chhetri/THT

Kathmandu, March 25

The government has signed a memorandum of cooperation with Japan to pave the way for Nepali workers to travel to the world’s third largest economy for employment in 14 job categories.

The MoC between the two countries was inked in the presence of Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Security Gokarna Bista, who said Japan would soon become a popular destination for Nepali labourers. Acting Secretary of the Labour Ministry Ram Prasad Dahal and Masamichi Saigo, Japanese ambassador to Nepal, penned the pact.

Following the agreement, a new unit similar to the EPS Korea Section under the Department of Foreign Employment will be set up in coordination with the Japanese government. The new body will work on the modality of recruitment of Nepali workers by Japanese employers.

According to the ministry, both governments will form a joint technical team that will finalise the number of workers to be recruited and the process of their recruitment. It will also finalise the benefits to be granted to workers. However, the cost a worker needs to bear to go to Japan is still under discussion. As per ministry officials, the government has requested Japan to allow Nepali workers to enter its job market at zero cost.

As per the agreement signed today, the Japanese government will hire Nepali migrant workers in care-giving, building cleaning management, machine parts and tooling, industrial machinery, electric, electronic, information and construction industries. Other sectors where workers will be hired are shipbuilding and ship machinery, automobile repair and maintenance, aviation, accommodation, agriculture, fishery and aquaculture, manufacture of food and beverages and food service industry.

Ambassador Saigo said workers with specific skills should be above 18 years of age, but there was no minimum education requirement.

Saigo added that aspiring workers had to pass skill and Japanese language tests to be eligible for employment in Japan. Tests will be prepared by a joint technical team soon. “The Japanese government’s move aims to address serious labour shortage in Japan,” he added.

Migrant workers will be allowed to change companies if they shift to a similar job. Workers will also be allowed to change their job category provided they pass the skill test for the concerned job.

In December, the Japanese government had approved a law whereby Japanese firms will be allowed to employ blue-collar workers from eight countries, including Nepal. Japan plans to employ 345,000 foreign workers in five years.

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