More Nepalis vie for 3rd-country jobs

  • Charm of seasonal labour market in India gives way to more stable, better paying works
- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
More Nepalis vie for 3rd-country jobs

Jan 6, 2015-

In an indication of the gradual shift in migration trends, a growing number of people previously going to India for seasonal employment are now heading to other countries.

Official statistics show there has been phenomenal growth in migration from the Tarai--across the country--and the mid-western region, in particular, to the Gulf and Malaysia.

According to the Department of Foreign Employment, the districts with a long history of seasonal migration to India--Dhanusha, Mahottari, Jhapa, Morang, Siraha, Nawalparasi, Saptari, Sunsari, Sarlahi and Rupandehi--are top ten providers of migrant workers to the Gulf and Malaysia.

Similarly, the number of workers from the mid-western region almost doubled in the last three years.

“There will be a surge in outbound migration, for unskilled jobs, from mid and far-western Nepal in the coming decade--made up of people who still migrate to India now,” said Ganesh Gurung, a foreign employment expert. Others say the relatively well-off districts, which initiated the trend of overseas migration, are either sending workers to rich Western countries, have people working in the country itself, or are sending workers to the Gulf and Malaysia to work relatively well-paid, decent jobs.

The Tarai and regions in mid-western Nepal, home to the poorest people in the country, still lag far behind in terms of access to education, health, employment opportunities, compared to other parts of the country. The people there still depend largely on agriculture and provisional migration to India due to unemployment and poverty. Reports by the Central Bureau of Statistics show that 45 out of 75 districts in Nepal are unable to produce enough food for their denizens, and most of these districts lie in the mid and far-western regions.

Stakeholders say various factors are likely to lead more people from these regions to go abroad in the coming decade. These include accessible government service, penetration by recruitment companies and agents at the grassroots level, growing demand for unskilled labourers in host countries and the availability of soft loans and lucrative wages.

“One in two migrant workers you see at Tribhuvan International Airport today are people who would have previously gone to places such as Punjab, Haryana and even other places in Nepal for work,” said Bal Bahadur Tamang, former chairman of Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies.

They are heading abroad now because the foreign labour market still needs more workers. Nepal’s recruitment is currently meeting barely half of annual job demands they receive from employers abroad, data shows.

According to statistics, manpower agencies received demands for 585,662 workers from 109 work destinations, particularly Malaysia and the Gulf, but the country was able to send only 256,072 workers last fiscal year. Some 75 percent of these workers ended up doing unskilled jobs.

The government lacks reliable data on workers going to India for seasonal employment, but some international organisations, including the World Bank, estimate that about 1 million Nepalis are working in India.

Published: 07-01-2015 09:33

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