KATHMANDU: Nepali youths are falling prey to deceptive advertisements on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram which falsely promise lucrative job opportunities in Europe and Asia. Despite the increasing number of youth becoming victims, the government has struggled to curb such fraudulent advertisements.
Many youths, desperate for employment, are duped into paying substantial amounts to brokers without verifying the authenticity of the information. The realization of being deceived only dawns upon them when they fail to receive the promised visa. Bikas Limbu, a resident of Dharan Municipality, is one such example. Attracted by a social media advertisement offering a job opportunity in the UK, he paid Rs 500,000 to a broker. Months passed, and the promised visa did not materialize. Eventually, the agent vanished, leaving Limbu in a precarious situation. “Given the challenges in securing employment, social media advertisements naturally grab our attention. The agent managed to collect a total of Rs 500,000 from me,” lamented Bikas. “When the agent disappeared without providing the promised visa, I filed a complaint with the foreign employment office.”
Bikash says he was duped by an individual named Bikas Sayami who had set up an office at Itahari.
Parbat Chand of Dhangasdhi shares a similar tale of deception by agents. Upon encountering a social media advertisement offering job opportunities in the Canadian agriculture sector, he reached out to the agent and paid Rs 700,000 at a consultancy operated by one Phool Maya Jirel in Putalisadak. Later, Chand discovered that the consultancy was not even registered with the government.
“I have no receipt confirming the payment made to the consultancy. Moreover, I lost my passport in the process,” Chand added.
Bikas Jogi of Ramechhap said Nice Manpower Pvt Ltd fleeced him Rs 200,000 by promoting job opportunities in Malta. “It has already been a year since I paid the amount. Now, they are refusing to return my passport and the amount paid,” Jogi said.
Officials from the Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE) say that they receive an average of 20 complaints daily from youths like Bikas, Chand, and Jogi. A study conducted by the department shows Nepali youths are frequently enticed by deceptive advertisements offering attractive job opportunities in countries such as Romania, Malta, Portugal, Croatia, Cyprus, Turkey, Albania, and Poland. The exploitation isn’t confined to Nepal alone. Nepali migrant workers in foreign countries are also falling victim to these schemes. Complaints are pouring into Nepali embassies in countries like India, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, and Malaysia. Nepalis there are being deceived with promises of job opportunities in the United States, European countries, Canada, and South Africa.
According to the study, approximately 9,000 youths succumb to social media advertisements, recruitment agencies, consultancies, and brokers each month. These unscrupulous individuals manage to fleece as much as Rs 150 million from unsuspecting youths every month.
“Manpower agents, traffickers, and recruitment companies are charging processing fees ranging from Rs 70,000 to Rs 100,000 going by the complaints lodged by the youths,” said Kabiraj Upreti, the spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE). “There is a racket publishing advertisements on social media to entice youths with job opportunities in European countries, the US, and Canada.”
The DoFE has initiated various campaigns to caution youths against succumbing to offers made in social media advertisements.
According to the Foreign Employment Act, only registered recruitment agents are authorized to send workers for employment to foreign countries. Nevertheless, consultancies, travel agencies, manpower agents, and brokers continue to allure workers through attractive advertisements on social media.
In the fiscal year 2023/24, the department received 2,300 complaints from youths who were deceived by recruitment companies, brokers, and consultancies, among others.