Foreign employment in Nepal has a sole regulatory and monitoring body, the Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE). Empowered by the “Foreign Employment Act” (FEA) and “Foreign Employment Regulation” (FER), which are the core legal provisions dealing with foreign employment, DoFE can regulate recruitment agencies, fine them and remove their license, authorize labor migration and provide permissions to migrate overseas. DoFE has also the power to hear complaints and investigate offenses related to foreign employment.

The Foreign Employment Promotion Board (FEPB) was established according to section 38 of the Foreign Employment Act, 2007. Its main functions are to implement promotional activities for foreign employment, ensure access to information of migrant workers and to ensure the social protection and welfare of migrant workers.

The Act also established the Foreign Employment Tribunal, which has the jurisdiction to adjudicate violations other than those punishable by the DoFE. It is a semi-judicial body consisting of three members: the Judge of the Appellate Court, a case-trying officer of the Labour Court and the gazetted first class officer in the judicial service.

Both the DoFE and the FEPB are located in Kathmandu and legal and physical branches outside the valley are missing, so departing and former migrant workers have to bear the travel cost to Kathmandu in case of need. Centralization of government services for enforcing the rights of migrant workers has long served as a barrier to migrants in accessing justice when those rights are violated.  All of those government agencies, as well as the recruitment agencies, are based in Kathmandu, which makes the cost of obtaining redress a significant, and often insurmountable barrier.  As the government of Nepal moves towards the implementation of a federal system of government, there is an opportunity to decentralize the mechanisms in place for migrant workers’ access to justice.  Thus, CMIR and  Transnational Legal Clinic, University of Pennsylvania decided to work together to help the government of Nepal in decentralization process though policy papers.


First Round Table Discussion : 

Program held on : 8 March 2018

Location : Conference Room, CMIR Office, Kathmandu

Objective of Program :  The intent of the working group was to explore the possible outlook of institutions on migration in the current federal structure of Nepal. Presicely, it is to determine whether the decentralization of the national government services for foreign employment should be of physical access or legal authority, and establish what decentralization can provide a better access to justice for migrant workers.

Report / Photos