Hom Karki in Kantipur, 28 June

Nepal has set new labour guidelines in motion, barring foreigners from working here without a work permit. Indians are immune to the new rules thanks to the 1950 Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship, but their names and other details will be documented. However, like other foreigners, Indians too will have to pay a levy of Rs 20,000 for six months, and Rs 30,000 after that.

Companies or businesses employing foreigners, including Indians, must notify the Labour Department about their non-Nepali workers. Else, they will have to pay a fine double the amount of levy. Officials claim they will start labour audit, which will help fine the companies that violate the guidelines.

Officials claim the new guidelines, which have been published in the gazette this week, are in tune with international practices, and guarantee social security of foreigners just like Nepalis. They say foreigners are entitled to provident fund, gratuity and other facilities just like Nepalis.

Foreigners hired as technical experts can work up to five years in Nepal, but others cannot work here for more than three. The guidelines also make it mandatory for Nepali companies to introduce a plan to gradually replace foreign technical experts by transferring their expertise to Nepalis. And the numbers of foreigners hired by Nepal-based companies should not exceed 5% of the total staff volume. However, the new labour guidelines do not apply to diplomatic agencies or entities operating under a specific agreement with the government.