Fewer Nepalis keen to take up overseas jobs

  • ‘Growing work opportunities at home main reason’
- ROSHAN SEDHAI, Kathmandu

May 1, 2016-Fewer Nepalis are taking up overseas jobs a year after the devastating earthquake, according to the latest data from the Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE), even as their demand in the Gulf countries, especially Qatar, continues to rise.  

DoFE’s statistics show that only 311,850 workers left the country in the first nine months of the current fiscal year, a fall of 39.20 percent compared to a year earlier. Some 512,887 Nepali migrants had left for the overseas jobs in the same period a year earlier. 

Experts said that growing job opportunities at home is the main reason behind the decline in number of Nepalis taking up jobs abroad. They expect further decline in the labour migration after the multi-billion dollar post-earthquake reconstruction picks up pace in the coming months. 

“Both skilled and unskilled workers are finding it more profitable to work in the country, as they are getting good pay in their own neighborhood,” said Ganesh Gurung, a foreign employment expert. Gurung said the policy makers should draft appropriate policies to retain more workers at home in the coming days. 

Nepal will need at least 700,000 skilled and unskilled labourers for the post-earthquake reconstruction, according to the Post Disaster Needs Assessment estimates.  

More than 500,000 houses were destroyed and more than 250,000 houses were partially damaged by the April 25 earthquake and aftershocks last year, according to preliminary surveys. Of them, 31,000 earthquake survivors have rebuilt their homes a year after the earthquake, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). 

Nepal still faces a dearth of both skilled and unskilled manpower although employers here are willing to pay as much as employers in the Gulf and Malaysia. Unskilled workers working on a piecemeal basis are earning between Rs 800 to Rs 1000. Unskilled workers, who make around 75 percent of Nepal’s total workforce, earn between Rs 20,000 to 30,000 in the Gulf and Malaysia. 

 “Skilled workers are getting even better pay here than the Gulf countries as there are huge demands for mason, electrician, carpenter and so on,” said Federation of Contractors Association of Nepal (FCON) President Sharad Kumar Gauchan. He said that the government should draft special policies to retain the workers. FCON is currently lobbying to revise the minimum wage scale for construction workers. 

FCON representatives said that a majority of construction companies are hiring workers from India and Bangladesh to meet the demand. Although manpower agencies and some government officials here claim that the free-visa-free-ticket scheme has resulted in less demand from work destinations, the data shows otherwise. 

DoFE statistics show that Nepal was able to meet barely 35 percent of total job demands from the overseas-based employers in the given period. 

Nepal received 890,298 job demands in the first nine months, including 529,965 quotas from Qatar, slightly less than total job demands received in the given period a year earlier. Nepal had received 997,009 in the same period a year earlier, including 474,452 demands from Qatar.   “In fact, we are receiving nearly three times more demands after the introduction of the free-visa-free-ticket scheme. We are expecting it to grow once Malaysia lifts ban on hiring of new foreign workers,” said a DoFE official. 

Published: 01-05-2016 08:17

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