Nepal is preparing to propose a new labour agreement with Malaysia.

The planned agreement is expected to protect rights, interests and safety of Nepali migrant workers in Malaysia.

The government is also preparing a similar agreement with Kuwait. Malaysia and Kuwait are two major labour destinations for Nepali migrant workers. But Nepal has no formal labour agreement.

Nepali migrant workers are facing multiple problems including exploitation and abuses in the absence of labour agreement, which is not only important to ensure minimum wages, safety and other rights of the Nepali workers, said an official at the Ministry of Labour and Employment.

The draft agreement once finalised would be dispatched to the concerned countries through the appropriate channel for their feedback and suggestions.

The agreement will be signed only after the labour-recipient countries give their final nod to the proposed draft, the official said, adding that the draft agreement envisions some internationally accepted norms and provisions ranging from minimum wages, maximum working hours, gratuity, leave, food, accommodation and health services.

Human rights activists, trade unions and some other stakeholders have long been demanding such an agreement between Nepal and the largest Nepali migrant worker-recipient countries Malaysia and Kuwait.
About half a million Nepalis are currently working in Malaysia.

Recently, a high-level team of National Human Rights Commission visited Malaysia to get the first hand information on the condition of Nepali migrant workers. The commission found multiple work-related hazards and other problems during its inspection visit and suggested Nepal government to take necessary initiative to address them as the issues need to be dealt in government level.

Human rights activists, however, have demanded that Nepal should first ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Migrant Workers before it signs any kind of labour agreement with other countries.

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