Nepal | April 21, 2019

Nepali migrants

In search of better opportunities

Shobhakar Parajuli

Migrants are basically exploited in different ways. Nepalese migrants are compelled to sign a fake agreement letter where all the fundamental rights of migrant workers are prohibited

foreign employmentPeople of the world are moving from one place to another from the beginning of the civilization in search of better opportunities for a better quality of life. This is normal and an inevitable feature of humans. Large numbers of migrants move from underdeveloped and developing countries to developed countries for diverse reasons. In this regard, a high number of Nepalese people are also leaving their country for the sake of good employment opportunities and a better life. 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.

Migration or immigration is nothing new to Nepal. A large number of Nepalese people go abroad to work in the absence of fruitful local employment in the country. Most of the migrants aboard are working in a vulnerable situation without any effective legal protection by the Nepalese government as well as the receiving government. Unequal wages prevailed between migrant workers and the nationals but the migrant workers cannot speak about it due to the fear of losing their job. Exploitation by foreign companies in the workplaces is reported often but no specific labor diplomacy has been adopted by the Nepal Government except for some cases.

Nepalese people are not allowed to work in each and every country around the world. Several serious cases highlighted in the media about the pathetic situation of the Nepalese migrants who are working in the unauthorized countries without any legal and social protection by the host countries.

While moving, the migrants are even hiding their nationality, originality, change their political ideology and take surrender in the host country for settlement. Similarly, such migrants are taken as alien 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 open to migrants, and difficulty to access to best opportunities. Different standards are often applied to nationals, on the one hand, and migrants, on the other, as regards job tenure, and contracts may deprive migrants of certain advantages. Though migrants are said to be spending quality and better life abroad, there is no feeling of internal satisfaction and charm of life.

There are numerous realistic 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 given. Most of the migrants have a lack of realistic information about the country of destination. So, they go with a sweet dream but come back with a sad story. A large number of them work illegally in poor working conditions. There is no social protection, exclusion, restriction on mobility and travel, withholding of paper and identity for migrant people in host countries.

Migrants are basically exploited in different ways. Nepalese migrants are compelled to sign a fake agreement letter where all the fundamental rights of migrant workers are prohibited, where the company has made another Nepalese agreement paper to show their government fake details about the facilities provided to the migrant workers. In most of the workers’ agreement paper, their affiliation with a trade union is prohibited that has hindered them their rights.

International provisions are found to be sound and applicable to protect the rights of migrants, but governments in both sending and receiving countries do not seem sincere to the domestication of the spirit of international instruments, conference recommendations and plan of action. In this regard, there should is an urgent need to address the problems of migrant workers from the policy level. Basic things that are found to improve are amending the existed 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 mission in the labor receiving country. Nepal Government departments should be established in all major migrant 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 immigrants 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 policy and other several things for the regulation and management of migrants.


A version of this article appears in print on November 02, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.


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