Foreign employment riskier for unskilled women

Sabina Karki

February 11, 2020

6 MIN READ

Foreign employment riskier for unskilled women

Image for representation. (File photo/Khabarhub)

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KATHMANDU: Lately the quest for independent life seems provoking more women to take to foreign job market breaking the confinement in household chores here.

However, being unskilled as per the demand of the job market is putting their life at risk echoing ‘jumping out from the frying pan, fell in the fire’ situation.

The number of female migrant workers from Nepal hiked after the government made the gulf countries open for female workers.

Ironically, the ones with higher educational qualifications take to migration whereas the ones least educated toil in the gulf to support national economy through remittance.

Their only hope that political stability would open avenues of opportunities for the job aspirants seems withering with the stories of corruption and mess in the country.

“ While I was in school, I believed that once there is political stability, we would get jobs in the country and take education also ahead, but now I feel it was a false promise,” said Lalita Yadav heading to Kuwait remorsefully, “stepping on the education dreams, living the aging parents now I am turning to the gulf.”

Like Lalita, many desperate women have taken to Gulf as the accessible job market which could work as the straw for the sinking man.

The lack of opportunities here has pushed the young women to the unfamiliar land where they toil, underpaid as unskilled worker.

Taken positively, the attempt to stand seems ‘revolutionary’ as two decades back most of the women in Nepal used to regard domestic chores as their fate and the only way of living.

Access to education, though not enough, exposed them to the world outside their chores and gradually they started dreaming of economic freedom from their male counterparts. From village when they came to town, they became ‘daunting’ enough to seek their fate in wider job markets like their male counterparts though being unskilled as per the market demand is a hitch in their struggle for independence.

Sources at the Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE), the authority to regulate, monitor and deal with foreign employment say that the number of female job aspirants for foreign employment has rocketed lately.

30000 discard homeland and head for job abroad   

The DoFE sources tell that thousands of women seek their fate in foreign job market every year. “Every year nearly 30000 women reach to various countries in search of job,” says Director Bhola Nath Guragain, the Information Official at the Department.

However, the news about many Nepali women job aspirants who took to illegal route to try their fate in foreign job market reveals that the number is bigger than it’s claimed.

“Lately, the trend seems increasing,” Guragain said indicating the number of women heading for foreign job market, “however, there is no realization of the fact that prior to seeking jobs in strange land we should sharpen our skill and equip ourselves.”

According to the DoFE record, 217 thousand women have headed for foreign employment since FY 2008/09 to till date.

According to DoFE 19300 women went out for job in other countries in FY 2015/16 which increased to 20100 in FY 2016/17, 22400 in FY 2017/18 and 24800 in FY 2018/19 respectively.

The data of 2008/09 shows that 8600 had gone out for foreign job then which has nearly gone three times more in the last 10 years.

Kuwait is the prime choice for females seeking foreign employment

The DoFE data reveal that most of the women gone for foreign employment are from the districts in Terai, mainly from province 2 and 3.

Qatar, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Japan are the major destinations for women seeking foreign employment. However, the largest number of Nepali women are in Kuwait.

As per the data of FY 2018/19, out of 24300 people who have got individual work permit Kuwait, 20200 are women. This shows that Kuwait is the destination of first choice for women.

Among the women in foreign employment, Jhapa women occupy 17.24%

Out of 132 thousand women who went for foreign employment last year, 23 thousand or 17.24% women were from Jhapa alone.

Sindhupalchowk, Morang, Kathmandu, Makawanpur, Kavrepalanchowk, Sunsari, Nuwakot, Chitwan and Ilam are other districts which fall under top 10 in terms of the number of women in foreign employment.  From these 10 districts alone 122 thousand women have left their homeland for foreign employment.

Only 25% are skilled!

The legal provisions have made the orientation training mandatory for all job aspirants for foreign employment. They should offer details about the post and place they are applying for as well. However, most of such job seekers turn deaf ears towards such legal provisions.

Although the government claims to give priority to skilled women only 25% women going for job-hunt are skilled.

Consequences of being unskilled

Unfortunately, most of the women who go for job-haunt outside the country, do not get the jobs they are promised. They even fail to understand the skill the posts they apply for needs better skill, better craft and get tempted by the sugar-coated promises of the corrupt manpower agencies.

So either they are treated as the ‘bonded-labor’ or offered worse menial jobs they can hardly withstand.

This makes them vulnerable to various forms of tortures ranging from being the subject to victim of hard labor, physical, mental and psychological torture and many other forms of exploitation.

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