The primary laws governing INGOs in Nepal are the Social Welfare Act of 1992 and the Social Welfare Council Rules of 1992. These legislations regulate and oversee INGO operations within the country's boundaries, providing a legal framework for establishment, registration, and functioning. INGOs must seek approval from the Social Welfare Council (SWC) and enter into two agreements with them: The General Agreement, which outlines the overall framework of their presence, and The Project Agreement, which specifies project details. INGOs must collaborate with local NGOs to implement their objectives in Nepal. Compliance with these laws ensures transparency, accountability, and effective project implementation for the benefit of Nepalese society.
The main regulating body responsible for overseeing INGOs in Nepal is the Social Welfare Council (SWC). To operate an INGO in Nepal, it is mandatory to obtain approval from the SWC. Prior to conducting any development, social, or welfare activities in Nepal, the INGO must execute both a General Agreement (GA) and a Project Agreement (PA) with the SWC. The application for the PA should be submitted within three months from the date of signing the General Agreement. In case the submission is not made within the given time, the SWC may grant an additional three months for submission, but a fine will be charged for the delay. It is possible for INGOs to have more than one PA under a single GA. Moreover, INGOs are required to donate at least USD 2,00,000 annually, and the source of funding must originate from outside of Nepal.
The process for establishing and operating an INGO (International Non-Governmental Organization) in Nepal includes registration, obtaining necessary permits, and appointing a Country Director.
- To register as an INGO (International Non-Governmental Organization) in Nepal, the following documents are typically required to be submitted to the Social Welfare Council (SWC):
- Certificate of Registration from the home country, proving legal establishment.
- Approved By-Laws governing the INGO's operations.
- Detailed Concept Paper/Project Proposal outlining intended projects in Nepal.
- Formal Covering Letter introducing the INGO's purpose and enclosed documents.
- Draft General Agreement specifying collaboration terms with the SWC.
- Proof of Financial Commitment (minimum USD 2,00,000 per annum) for Nepalese projects.
- Letter of Authorization designating representatives for dealings with the SWC.
- Identification documents of authorized personnel (Citizenship, Passport, and Bio data).
- Documentation validating Reliable Funding Sources from outside of Nepal.
- Obtaining Work Permits and Visas:
- For foreign staff members of the INGO who intend to work in Nepal, they must obtain work permits and appropriate visas.
- The process involves several steps:
- Submit required documents for visa and work permit processing to the relevant authorities.
- Ministry of Home Affairs provides clearance and recommends the work permit to the Department of Labor and Occupational Safety.
- The Ministry of Women, Children, and Senior Citizens provides a recommendation for the working visa to the Department of Immigration.
- The foreign national applies to convert their tourist visa to a working visa at the Department of Immigration in Kathmandu, along with the necessary recommendation letters and work permit.
- Appointment of Country Director:
- INGOs operating in Nepal must appoint a Country Director who will be responsible for overseeing the organization's activities in the country.
- The Country Director should meet the eligibility criteria set by the Government of Nepal and have the necessary experience and qualifications.
- The INGO must notify and obtain approval from the Social Welfare Council regarding the appointment of the Country Director.
- In the context of Nepal, INGOs (International Non-Governmental Organizations) need to consider visa-related matters when operating within the country. Here are some points related to visas for INGOs in Nepal:
Restricted Areas: Certain areas of Nepal, especially near international borders, require special permits for foreigners to enter. INGOs working in or near these restricted areas should be aware of these regulations and obtain the necessary permits for their staff if required.
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