December 10, 2023, Sunday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

Tragic side of foreign employment

10,932 died in foreign employment in 14 years

The Nepal Weekly
August 23, 2022

By Purna N. Ranjitkar

For Nepal, remittances contribute substantially to maintain macroeconomic stability. At the household level, it helps smoothening consumption and investment in human and physical capital. Remittances also generate benefits to the community, if they are spent on locally produced goods and services, and helps poverty reduction since the money is utilised for appropriately.

The penetration of the remittances into the remote villages has helped in poverty alleviation. Generally the recipients of the remittance in the poor countries are often from the low-income households. It permits the households to increase their consumption level, enables better health care, nutrition, housing and education, reports describe.

National Living Standard Survey 2011 says that 56% of Nepali households have at least one member of their family working or living abroad. Thus, foreign employment is a very big market for Nepali youths for employment opportunities.

In 2020, Nepal received remittances sent by migrant workers as much as 23.5% the country’s GDP.

The preliminary report of the 2021 census shows that 2.1 million Nepali nationals are abroad for employment.

It is worth mention that Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE) of Nepal Government has approved 110 countries as labour migration destinations for Nepali foreign employment seekers. Moreover, Nepali workers have been employed in around 172 countries. But, the more of the placement is concentrated in only a few countries – India, Qatar, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. It is also to note that labour demand widened in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, South East and East Asian countries like Malaysia, South Korea and Japan. However, coronavirus pandemic hit period was a slack for Nepali foreign workers and affected the volume of remittance.

Looking at the trend of labour permit issuance by the Nepal Government Department of Foreign employment (DoFE), Nepal had been experiencing a steady rise in outbound migration since the 2000s. The number of labour permits issued peaked at 2013/14, reaching a high of 519,638, before continuously falling in the following years. Furthermore, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent restrictions imposed on the movement of people, only 72,081 labour permits were issued in 2020/21.

As mentioned above, remittances have emerged as one of the main sources of foreign exchange, and in the recent years they have been an important avenue of support for family members remaining at home. It has been already demonstrated that remittances sent by the migrant workers is an effective tool for poverty reduction.

Data related to Nepali nationals engaged in foreign employment show that 5 million 833 persons worked abroad (in different countries) in last 14 years  

According to Foreign Employment Board, the number shown excluded those who received labour permission repeatedly

Among them 4 million 714 thousand 519 were male and 286 thousand 242 were female. The board states that the highest number of people flew abroad for employment was in last FY 2021-22. In the said FY 630 thousand and 97 went out. 

Remittance volume stood at Rs. 84.66 kharba (Rs. 4866 billion) in last 14 years.

The highest amount of remittance recorded in last FY that was Rs. 9 kharba (986 billion)

Thus, from every angle remittance has been a must for Nepal’s economy. But, Nepal’s youth workforce to employ in own country did not have taken any desirable speed, neither the workforce upgraded for better earning and less risk to death. That should be one important agenda for the politicians and policymakers to rethink and review.

Records show that 10 thousand 932 Nepali workers died during a period of 14 years. The last Fiscal Year 2021-22 witnessed the highest death record. A total of 1 thousand four hundred 79 were died in that FY.

The report related to foreign employment also says that 78 died in 2065-66, 421 in 2066-67, 564 in 2067-68, 647 in 2068-69, 772 in 2069-70, 877 in 2070-71, 1 thousand 6 in 207-72, 826 in 2072-73, 758 in 2073-74, 826 in 2074-75, 763 in 2075-76, 672 in 2076-77, 1 thousand 243 in 2077-78.

Likewise, 2 thousand 125 persons returned home with severely injured or body parts damaged so far in 14 years.

Thus, Nepal Government policy needs to be supportive to foreign employment seekers. Better and quality training for the aspirants can make a better pay and benefits. Likewise, life risk in the working environment may be different for the better quality workers. Insurance and health facilities and legally forceful money transfer service, suitable environment for the remittance money to invest in productive sectors are the important aspects to consider. Then the people who bring money from foreign jobs will have a dignified social life.