Migrants in trouble: Doing away with anomalies

International provisions are found very sound and applicable to protect the rights of migrants but governments of both the sending and receiving countries do not seem sincere to the spirit of international instruments

People are moving from one place to another place from the beginning of the civilization in search of better opportunities and a better quality of life. This is a normal and inevitable feature of the humans. Large numbers of migrants move from underdeveloped and developing countries to developed countries for diverse reasons. In this regard, many Nepalese people are also leaving the country daily for the sake of good employment opportunities. While observing the trend of migration, some are forced to move, due to conflict, civil war or to escape from discrimination and prejudices, while others may voluntarily emigrate. Although such a movement may be necessary in this globalized world, sometimes it can be quite traumatic and challenging experience so far.

Migration or immigration is nothing new to Nepal. A large number of Nepalese go abroad to work in the absence of fruitful employment in the country. Most of the migrants abroad are working in a risky situation without any effective legal protection by the Nepalese government as well as the receiving government. Unequal wages mostly prevails between migrant workers and the natives, but the migrant workers cannot speak about it due to the fear of losing their job. The exploitation made by foreign companies at the workplaces is prevalent but no specific labor diplomacy has been adopted by the Nepal government except in a few cases. Nepalese people are not allowed to work in some countries, Several serious cases have been highlighted in the media about the pathetic situation of Nepalese migrants who are working in unauthorized countries without any legal and social protection by the host countries.

While moving, the migrants are even hiding their nationality, originality, changing their political ideology to take refuge in the host country for settlement. Similarly, such migrants are taken as aliens in the host country, and they are the targets of suspicion or hostility in the communities where they live and work. In most cases, financially poor, they share the handicapped economy, society and culture of the least-favored groups in the society of the host state. Discrimination against migrants in the field of employment takes many forms. These include exclusions or preferences as regards the types of jobs which are open to migrants, and difficulty to have access to best opportunities. Different standards are often applied to their nationals, on the one hand, and migrants, on the other, as regards job tenures, and contracts may deprive migrants of certain advantages.

There are numerous stories of the suffering of Nepalese migrant workers abroad. It is believed that Nepalese workers are accepted in foreign countries only because they are cheap and they do whatever job is given. Most of the migrants have a lack of realistic information about the country of their destination. So, they will go with a sweet dream but come back with a sad story about their workplace. A large number of migrants work illegally in poor working condition. There is no social protection, exclusion, and there is restriction on mobility and travel, withholding of paper and identity for migrants in host countries.

Migrants are basically exploited in several ways. Nepalese migrants are compelled to sign a fake agreement letter where all the fundamental rights of migrant workers are prohibited by the companies and the agreement paper is only to show their government fake details about the facilities provided to the migrant workers. In most of the workers’ agreement papers, their affiliation with trade unions is prohibited that has hindered them to get organized for their rights. Other forms of exploitation are not exposed but they are exploited in different ways in the country of their destination.

International provisions are found very sound and applicable to protect the rights of migrants but governments of both the sending and receiving countries do not seem sincere to the spirit of international instruments, conference recommendations and plans of actions. In this regard, there is an urgent need to address the problems of migrant worker at policy level. Basic things that are found to improve their lot are amending the existing laws, promotion of labor market through the labor diplomacy, management of human resource agencies and welfare activities to the best benefit of migrants.

Different measures can be adopted to minimize the great problems of Nepalese immigrants. First of all, there is the need to establish bilateral and multilateral cooperation for promotion of international labor standards as well as involvement of the social partners and migrant workers in the formulation of migration policy.

There should be good cooperation of Nepalese diplomatic missions in the labor receiving country. The Nepal Government departments should be established in all major migrants receiving countries to monitor the situation and safeguard the rights of migrants and help them in need.

This is high time to holistically address the complex problems and grave situations of Nepalese migrants from diplomatic and policy level both by the sending countries and the host countries. Moreover, Nepal Government should be capable of proper implementation of existing policies and other things to do with the regulation and management of migrants.