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Worker migration at half a million in 11 months

  About 500‚111 Nepali migrants took up foreign jobs in the review period

HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE

KATHMANDU: The number of workers joining foreign jobs witnessed a rise in the last 11 months.

According to the Department of Foreign Employment, about 500,111 Nepalis left for foreign employment between Poush (mid-January) and Kartik (mid-December).

The data showed a sharp rise in migration figures after the department started recording reentrants. The department started registering reentrants from Mangsir (mid-November to mid-December) last year.

Migrant workers reentering the foreign job market have propelled the outflow figure. About 187,467 reentered foreign job destinations during the period.

The department started recording reentrants to get the actual figure of migration, said director general of the department Purna Chandra Bhattarai. “A comparative study on migration will be possible from next year,” he said, adding that reentry in the job market could indicate worker friendly markets.

Most reentrants joined jobs in Gulf countries — Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. Malaysia — one of the top five destinations — recorded the lowest number of reentrants, according to data.

Labour market analysts have said the rise was expected despite problems in Gulf-based job markets. Worker migration has been booming only because of the lack of opportunities in the domestic market, said Dr Chiranjivi Nepal. “Worker migration will not reduce if the transition period continues,” he added.

Nepal expected the figures for worker migration to go above 600,000 in the current fiscal year. However, there is no chance of a major shift in popular destinations in the next couple of years.

“Job markets in the Persian Gulf can accommodate unskilled and low skilled workers, but the safety situation will remain the same,” he said, “It is because, we have not worked for the safety of workers.”

However, the department claimed that there have been a lot of corrections made with regards to foreign employment. “Individual contracts have reduced to five per cent of total migrants,” said Bhattarai.

Similarly, the board has started legalising migrant workers who have left the country without adhering to the formal process. About 3,847 migrants have been legalised since the process began in Ashwin (mid-September to mid-October).

The department has implemented almost all the reforms suggested by the committee led by Dr Ganesh Gurung. The committee which was formed last year has handed over a 30-point reform plan to the government to curb fraud and other irregularities in the outsourcing sector.

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