Nepal | November 29, 2020

Nepal urged to review out-migration to ensure workers’ safety

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Nepali diaspora, researchers and academics have highlighted that Nepal needs to utilise the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to review its existing migration policies, their implementation and prepare a new roadmap for migration for work abroad in future.

The virtual policy dialogue on ‘Rethinking Migration: Need of the Hour’ was organised by the Centre for Diplomacy and Development, Nepal Institute of International Cooperation and Engagement, Nepal Policy Institute and Nepalese Migrants Unity Network, yesterday. The interaction highlighted that Nepal should take action to ensure that out-migration is safe, and orderly, as per the essence of Global Compact for Migration.

GCM is the first UN global agreement on a common approach to international migration in all its dimensions which Nepal also signed in 2019, along with other 164 countries.

CDD founder President and former ambassador to France, Mohan Krishna Shrestha, emphasised that protection of migrant workers’ rights can be ensured only when the government rules and regulation are strongly implemented by the recruitment agencies in Nepal and the country makes foreign employers accountable to protect the rights of the migrant workers.

Executive Director at Foreign Employment Board, Rajan Prasad Shrestha said national and international efforts should be made to protect Nepali workers abroad. He underscored the role of diaspora organisations such as NPI to advise stakeholders of migration in Nepal on future planning and policies.

Shrestha also said the Government of Nepal had the policy to attract the returnee migrant workers in the sector of agriculture and they would also be mobilised in other development sectors of the country by utilising the skill and experiences they gained abroad.

Chairperson of NPI, Khagendra Dhakal emphasised that migration should be a choice of Nepali people but not a forced decision for survival.

NPI is an international think-tank initiated by Nepali diaspora two years ago and migration has been one of the core areas of its focus. Dhakal pointed that all stakeholders of migration should take migration as a positive tool of development for both the home and host countries. However, countries like Nepal have failed to link labor migration to the development, said Dhakal.

Dhakal also said Nepali migrant workers had been abused and exploited in each and every stage of the migration cycle from the recruiting to the returning stage and the main cause of such exploitation was the lack of awareness about foreign employment processes among migrant workers. Referring to the recent research conducted by NPI, he said that 70 per cent of the returnee migrants were completely unknown about the government programmes for them in their country.

Meena Poudel, a migration expert based in North Africa, said that migration was a natural process, but the exploitations were basically caused by the unethical recruitment process adopted by local recruitment agencies and foreign employer companies.

A version of this article appears in print on October 11, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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