Migrant Workers' Welfare


With an aim to benefit millions of Nepali migrant workers employed in foreign land or self-employed and their families, the Social Security Fund (SSF) has launched contribution-based social security scheme. Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ launched the scheme amid a programme organised by the SSF in Kathmandu on Wednesday. According  to  the  procedure,  such Nepali  citizens  can  participate  in  the  programme  by  contributing  at  least  21.33  per cent  minimum  of Rs.  2,002 per month. This premium amount is based on the minimum basic salary set by the Government of Nepal. At a maximum, however, they can contribute three times the amount of their basic salary. 

The procedure has introduced various schemes such as Accident and Disability Protection Scheme, Dependent Family Protection Scheme and Old Age Protection Scheme for those, who contribute regularly. Nepalis going to work abroad with a new work permit or those who want to get their work permit renewed while staying abroad can join the scheme through the online   system managed by the Department of Foreign Employment. This is likely to be of great use for Nepalis working in sectors that are physically demanding and fraught with risks, notably in the Gulf where a bulk of our migrants have been working in unfamiliar terrain and in not-so-friendly environment. 

The SSF hopes that the agreement reached with Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) for cooperation will make the scheme more impactful, saying the association is active in over 80 countries. The government is said to be making policy arrangements to invest the Fund’s money in physical infrastructure development, entrepreneurship and other productive sectors. The Prime Minister has expressed concerns about the inability to include contract workers in the government service in the social security scheme but pledged to make necessary arrangements to increase its scope so that such workers are covered as well.

The government is hopeful that the scheme will contribute considerably to the achievement of the goal of bringing 60 per cent of the population under the scope of social security in one way or the other by the end of the current 15th periodic plan. Rabina Thapa, Executive   President   of the NRNA, said that the launch of the social security scheme aimed at foreign workers and self-employed people abroad was a great achievement for the association. She called for a special consideration for the women workers willing to participate in this scheme, citing that women have been facing discrimination as they are being paid less compared to their male counterparts for the same work at home and abroad. The NRNA expects the newly launched scheme to benefit more than four million workers. 

Good health of the migrant workers bodes well for the national economy. But they have been facing one hassle after another right from their departure point to their job destination. Only the other day the Prime Minister instructed the Home Ministry to make sure that no Nepali migrant worker faces any sort of troubles while going abroad. We hope the scheme will go a long way to overcome this, as well as to improve the working conditions, not to mention addressing other workplace-related issues. 

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