See you around

Jan 29, 2016-

People have been migrating since the Stone Age. They would move from one place to another in search of animals and water since animals were the only source of food and hunting was the only way to survive. Today, however, migration is not confined to subsistence. Humans are migrating from one corner of the world to another not just for survival, but also for better opportunities, environment and education. The number of international migrants is increasing by the day. According to the UN Population Fund, the number of international migrants swelled to 244 million in 2015 from 232 million in 2013. The increase in the number of international migrants shows that moving has become a global phenomenon, which has a huge impact on almost every nation. 

Poor countries are a source of international migrants while rich countries are the recipients. International migration produces costs and benefits for both the source nation and the recipient nation. The former suffers brain drain or shortage of manpower due to the exodus of its working-age population, but enjoys remittance sent home by the migrants. The latter enjoys brain gain or a solution to its problem of manpower shortage, but bears the welfare cost of immigrants because it has to provide them social security benefits. 

Nepal has not remained untouched by the trend of international migration. Around 2.2 million Nepalis are presently living abroad. In 2014, about 520,000 Nepalis left the country, and a majority of them went to the Gulf and Malaysia as migrant workers. Most Nepali migrant workers have been unskilled and uneducated people. However, the trend of educated and skilled people leaving the country has also risen due to the meagre compensation they get in their hyperinflation-racked country. International migration has become a major pillar of the national economy since remittance inflows to Nepal reached an estimated $5 billion in the fiscal year 2013-14, equivalent to 28 percent of the GDP. Besides, remittance has also been a major factor in reducing poverty in Nepal. 

Nevertheless, international migration for employment has also brought some problems to Nepal. First, the agricultural and industrial sectors are facing labour shortages, forcing these sectors to hire more expensive Indian labour which has eroded their competitiveness. As a result, their products cannot compete with cheaper foreign imports. This has put their survival at risk. Besides, international migration has a negative impact on the social life of the migrants such as disintegration of families, single parents and divorce. In addition, the unfair treatment of migrants regarding wages and exploitation has emerged as another big issue, which is getting worse due to Nepal’s weak diplomacy. In point of fact, international migration for employment has been both a boon and bane for Nepal.

SUBODH DAHAL

Published: 29-01-2016 09:01

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