Unable to export enough labor to EU market, Nepali workforce concentrates on Middle-East

In the absence of a skilled workforce, Foreign Employment sector of Nepal is full of danger and uncertainty.

Ramesh Bharati

July 22, 2019

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Unable to export enough labor to EU market, Nepali workforce concentrates on Middle-East
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KATHMANDU: Not less than five hundred thousand Nepalese youth are leaving the country every year for foreign employment. A total of 4,76,704 men and 32,132 women have left Nepal in an institutional and individual capacity for foreign destinations in search of jobs as the data recorded in the financial year 2075/76 BS reveals.

Combined together, the total numbers of Nepali workforce who migrated to other countries in foreign employment amounts to 508,827 recorded in the data preserved by the Department of Foreign Employment, Government of Nepal. Most of the migrants from Nepal landed up in three countries of Gulf and Malaysia in East Asia from amongst those who chose to migrate to foreign countries in search of employment. As per the data verified from the government, the entire sector of foreign employment is dependent upon at the moment on these three countries of Gulf (Middle-East) and one country in East Asia, that is Malaysia.

UAE is the third most preferred destination in the Middle-East Gulf countries after Qatar and Saudi Arabia for the Nepali workforce

Last year, an estimated 165,328 male workers and 4,887 female workers left Nepal for Qatar on foreign employment, reveals the data recorded in the Department of Foreign Employment. Saudi Arabia comes next to Qatar in providing employment to Nepalese workforce. A total of 115,871 male workers and 2,033 female workers from Nepal left for Saudi Arabia on foreign employment in the financial year 2075/76 BS says the data.

UAE is the third most preferred destination in the Middle-East Gulf countries after Qatar and Saudi Arabia for the Nepali workforce. In the current financial year, a total of 160,383 male workers and 13,472 female workers migrated from Nepal to UAE on foreign employment as per the data. These three countries in the financial year provided for jobs to 398,974 Nepali citizens both men and women. Nepalese youth have not been in position to go to Malaysia for foreign employment for last one year in light of the newly signed labor contract between Nepal and Malaysia.

Though Malaysia is officially closed now for the Nepalese workforce, yet not less than 40,897 male workers and 10,249 female workers combined together a total of 42,146 Nepalese workers visited Malaysia in search of foreign jobs, says the data. Beyond the three Gulf countries Nepalese workforce is visiting other countries in the region in search of foreign jobs such as Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Jordan where, as the data says, a total of 42,757 Nepalese workforce has gone on foreign jobs. Of course, the number of Nepalese workforce is much less in these countries if compared to the numbers of Nepalese workforce employed in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE.

A total of 4,122 male workers and 142 female workers (making the gross numbers of Nepalese workers 4,264) flew to Japan for foreign employment.

Dr. Bhisma Kumar Bhusal, Director of Department of Foreign Employment, says that the government has recently worked out an arrangement with Gulf countries and Malaysia for sending the skilled Nepali workforce from next financial year. It is comparatively easy to fly to Gulf countries and Malaysia, therefore, Nepalese workers choose to fly there, continues Bhusal adding further that on encouragement and support received from the government, numbers of Nepalese workforce leaving for European countries in search of foreign employment are increasing nowadays.

The government had entered into a labor agreement with the Government of Japan in the financial year 2075/76 BS. A total of 4,122 male workers and 142 female workers (making the gross numbers of Nepalese workers 4,264) flew to Japan for foreign employment. The data shows that numbers of Nepalese workers visiting the foreign countries with which the government had signed labor agreement recently are still less.

The high target destinations in foreign employment for Nepalese workers across the world at the moment have three divisions: East Asia, Gulf countries in the Middle-East and Europe.

It is all because of the government negligence and lack of interest in the area forcing the Nepalese workforce going to only Gulf countries and Malaysia in foreign employment, analyses Dr. Ganesh Gurung, an employment expert. He continues, “European countries along with Japan and Mauritius demand skilled labor with expertise in one or more areas. Nepal at the moment does not have such quality of labor-force as a result of which the country is dependent upon the Gulf countries and Malaysia where unskilled workers get employed easily.”

Low numbers of Nepalese workers heading to Europe

Last year, armed with new labor permit under the institutional route, a total of 208,351 Nepalese workers left the country for foreign employment. Out of these, not less than 191,661 workers were employed in Jordan and other 7 Gulf countries, at least 10,013 Nepalese workers got employment in Malaysia, Japan, and other East Asian countries while six European countries like Malta, Cyprus, Turkey, Portugal, and Romania could not absorb more than 5,900 workers at institutional level, reveals the data provided by Department of Foreign Employment. Similarly, China has absorbed around 530 Nepalese workers, Canada 116 and Australia 139, according to the figures.

Employment expert, Dr. Gurung says that the government through its proper channel is unable to provide enough numbers of labor-force from Nepal to European countries and other countries like Japan and China thereby forcing the Nepali youth to rely on the manpower agencies and other agents for going to Europe. The high target destinations in foreign employment for Nepalese workers across the world at the moment have three divisions: East Asia, Gulf countries in the Middle-East and Europe.

Among the three, Europe stands at the bottom in terms of receiving the least number of Nepalese workers. The government has not shown any interest in this direction. This is why Nepalese workers on their personal initiative make arrangement to go to European and African countries besides Canada.

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