Kathmandu, July 23
The number of Nepali workers seeking jobs in the foreign labour market has decreased for the third consecutive year. It dropped by 9.61 per cent to 378,462 in the last fiscal year 2016-17.
The domestic labour market has not been able to create enough jobs for the unemployed youths and at the same time the number of migrant workers seeking foreign jobs has also declined in the last fiscal year.
According to data maintained by the Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE), in the fiscal year 2015-16, a total of 418,713 Nepalis left the country in search of jobs. The number of migrant workers who went abroad was 512,887 in the fiscal year 2014-15.
The January-February period witnessed the highest number of migrant workers going abroad for jobs with 37,014 migrant workers taking the final approval from DoFE while in September-October the number of migrants obtaining the final approval stood at 23,694, which was the lowest for fiscal 2016-17.
Labour market expert Ganesh Gurung said that due to political turmoil in some of the major destinations of Nepali migrant workers demand had slowed down. “We can seen that certain labour destinations are facing some political problems which has led to this slowdown,” he added.
According to Gurung, the continuous fall in oil price has created economic problems in the Gulf countries and they have not hired workers like in the previous years. “The oil price has been on a continuous decline due to which the number of workers that companies are seeking has subsequently gone down and this has affected Nepal too,” he stated.
Gurung also mentioned that the diplomatic rift between Qatar and the Saudi Arabia-led alliance has hit the psychology of workers and many are in a wait and see mode at the moment.
There were fears in Nepal that the economic blockade put in place by the Saudi Arabia-led alliance against Qatar would hurt Nepali labourers working in the construction sector as Qatar gets ready to host the FIFA Football World Cup in 2022. However, the study team formed by the government has already said that Nepali migrant workers are safe in Qatar.
According to DoFE, the number of Nepali migrant workers willing to go to Qatar is also slightly falling down. In April-May, 9,535 migrant workers had taken the final approval from DoFE, whereas in May-June it was 8,864 and in June-July the figure had further dropped to 5,515.
A version of this article appears in print on July 24, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.