Nepalese Minister of Labour and Employment Visits Japan
A delegation from the Ministry of Labour and Employment, the governmental contact for Nepal, including the Minister of Labour and Employment, Gurung, traveled to Japan and paid a visit to the president and other officers of JITCO on February 18. An exchange of opinions with the delegation was conducted on sending technical intern trainees from Nepal with a focus on the issues of disappearance of trainees and applying for recognition of refugee status.
Minister Gurung recognized the substantial contributions to economic development in Nepal by technical intern trainees after they completed their training and returned to Nepal and expressed a desire to increase the sending of technical intern trainees from Nepal, primarily in agricultural fields. Minister Gurung also touched on the issues of the increasing number of technical intern trainees who disappear or apply for recognition of refugee status, indicating that this is a source of national shame and that countermeasures would be implemented at an early stage. With regard to the issue of application for recognition of refugee status in particular, Minister Gurung emphasized that since a comprehensive peace was achieved by the government of Nepal and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) in 2006, Nepal’s political situation has been stable and that the situation is not such that Nepalese citizens should apply for recognition of refugee status in foreign countries.
The specific measures mentioned by Minister Gurung to address the issues of disappearance of technical intern trainees and applications for recognition of refugee status are as follows:
(1) It is believed that the low level of Japanese language communication skills of technical intern trainees is one source of the problems, and therefore, Japanese language education before sending technical intern trainees will be enhanced and only trainees that have achieved a certain level of Japanese language skills will be sent. (2) Before technical intern trainees are sent to Japan, they will be required to submit written pledges promising to return to Nepal following completion of their training. (3) A new labour bank will be established to provide low-interest loans to technical intern trainees who have returned to Nepal and want to start businesses. (4) Penalties will be imposed on technical intern trainees who disappear while in Japan and are later deported and returned to Nepal. (5) Management and supervision of sending organizations will be reinforced by setting a limit on the amount of fees that sending organizations can collect from technical intern trainees, establishing structures within sending organizations to perform comprehensive monitoring from the sending of technical intern trainees to their return to Nepal, and visits by ministry personnel to sending organizations and the provision of guidance.
In response to this explanation, JITCO explained that even when supervising organizations want to accept technical intern trainees from Nepal, they feel that there are risks because of the high rate of disappearance and application for recognition of refugee status, and they are hesitant to accept trainees. JITCO also explained that as the countermeasures are thoroughly implemented, it expects that the incidence of technical intern trainees disappearing and applying for recognition of refugee status will decline and the number of technical intern trainees from Nepal accepted will gradually increase as results are produced.
JITCO also advised that the disadvantages when technical intern trainees disappear or apply for recognition of refugee status, as well as the benefits when the technical intern training is completed and trainees return home without incident, be thoroughly explained to technical intern trainees who are sent to Japan and that they be requested to exercise good judgment.
- Minister Gurung (right)
- Starting second from the left, Minister Gurung, Ambassador Bhattarai of Nepal to Japan, Under Secretary of Ministry of Labour and Employment Shiwakoti