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Manpower agencies barely surviving amidst pandemic

Manpower agencies are still struggling to make ends meet due to COVID.

2022 Jan 31, 7:56, Kathmandu

For a business highly dependent upon traveling to foreign nations, a worldwide pandemic brought numerous imbalances in manpower agencies. For almost two years most institutions in the sector remained completely closed. While business was finally starting to prosper, problems started arising again as the third wave struck.
“The situation is slightly better than the first lockdown. We have few clients here and there because of whom we are able to run the organization”, says Prakash Malla, Managing Director of Avatar Human Resources Pvt. Ltd. Flight restrictions across the globe, strict policies and guidelines regarding the arrival of foreigners, though necessary, proved to be an issue for manpower agencies.

“One of the main issues we face is successfully sending our clients to their desired destination for employment”, says Yogendra Ghimire, CEO of Our Destiny Employment Services. “Some of our clients were unable to go to countries of their choice because of the COVID precaution policies of that country”, he says.
Another issue faced by manpower agencies is the lack of employment opportunities in foreign countries. The pandemic affected lots of sectors from hospitality to entertainment. And as these sectors were not functioning well, they did not require or could not afford new employees. “There was a lack of employment opportunities in major sectors which created a problem to send skilled manpower too”, says Ghimire.

A majority of Ghimire’s clients go to Romania for employment.  When the pandemic began in 2020, the Romanian government continued to pay 60% of the salaries to their foreign employees according to the agreement. “Our clients did not have to face much trouble as their living accommodations were taken care of by the government”, he says. Unfortunately, this was not the case for everyone. Many Nepalis working around the world suffered heavily during the pandemic. “Many of our clients lost their jobs while many could not return back to Nepal due to the global lockdown and travel restrictions. And sadly there was nothing we could do”, says Suraj KC, Chairman of Manpower Agency Nepal.

Manpower agencies strictly follow precautionary protocols against COVID-19 while sending their clients abroad. These agencies help make sure all safety requirements such as complete vaccination and a negative PCR test before traveling are fulfilled. They also brief their clients about the COVID situation at their destination. “We also inform our clients about the booster shots that are being given at their destination so they can get it if they have not”, says Ghimire.

While some manpower companies are still running with very few clients, some were out of business due to the pandemic. “We have not been in business ever since the pandemic struck two years ago. Even though the lockdown is called off at the present, we have not reopened yet” says KC.  As COVID cases continue to increase day by day, manpower companies live in uncertainty. “Situation for companies like ours has not deteriorated like before. However, we are not running smoothly either. What will happen in the near future in regards to the pandemic is uncertain. We can only hope for the best”, says KC.


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