CESLAM Kathmandu Migration Conference 2023
the Centre for the Study of Labour and Mobility (CESLAM) at Social Science Baha
was held from
2-5.30 pm on Wednesday, 15 February 2023 via zoom.
(All times are in Nepal time)
15 February 2023 (Wednesday)
2:00 pm–05:40 pm
Chair and Discussant: Dr. Masako Tanaka, Professor, Sophia University, Japan
Break: 3:45–4:00 pm
Chair and Discussant: Neha Choudhary, National Project Coordinator, ILO Nepal
Migration to foreign countries from Nepal is largely characterised by migration for work and education. In the last decade, Japan has emerged as an important destination for Nepali migrants for work and study. However, there is a dearth of studies on the migration process to Japan looking into prospective migrants’ reasons for migration and their decision-making process. In this context, this study aims to understand the process of migration to Japan for work and study as well as to analyse the experiences of potential Nepali migrants who migrate as students through Japan International Trainee & Skilled Worker Cooperation Organization (JITCO) Technical Intern Training Program (TITP) or other channels during the pre-departure phase of the process. The study used a mixed-method approach consisting of desk review, survey with 107 aspirant migrant workers, semi-structured interviews and key informant interviews to collect data. Apart from studying and earning, research participants purpose of going to Japan also included acquiring Japanese skills and starting a new business after returning home, learning about Japanese culture, language and technology. Good governance and public safety were also reasons for choosing Japan as a destination for study and work.
The economic impact of labour migration on Nepal as well as the migrant workers and their families is well known. However, labour migration for Nepali migrant workers has come with high economic cost. In particular, securing employment abroad involves several costs primarily for migrant workers. It was within this context that the study was conducted to understand the trends in migration costs, use of loans for migration and loan repayment rate among migrant households in Nepal. The study is based on a sub-set of data from a larger survey (4,830 households) titled ‘Media and Democracy Survey V’ carried out by Sharecast Initiatives in Nepal in January and February of 2020. The study finds that Nepali migrants spend a significant amount of money for migration and most households borrow loans from formal channels and informal networks to pay for the migration of their members. Nepal’s policy and Bilateral Labour Migration Agreements with some destination countries requires the employer to pay for recruitment fees and other related costs. But, in practice, they have not been effective in ensuring fair and ethical recruitment of Nepalis for foreign employment at a low cost. A significant proportion of migrant households struggle to pay back the staggering amount of loans even several years after the migration of their member/s. In the costs of high migration cost and use of loans with high interest to finance migration, remittance sent by migrant workers are being used mostly in loan repayment and meeting daily household needs. Unless the costs of migration can be reduced, investment in any economic activities that generate capital will continue to remain constrained. Further, the study on debt stress and debt bondage among migrant workers and challenges that migrants and returnees face including psychosocial health implication in paying off the debt incurred during the process of seeking employment abroad is needed.
Migration from remote villages to the metropolis/cities across the world has been a common phenomenon in Nepal. The terai region i.e. the eastern part of the country is no exception to this changing global economic development. While shrinking quantum of agricultural land, limited employment opportunities, poverty, political uncertainty etc. remains the key factors; a distant dream to improve economic conditions pushes the migrants to work abroad over the years. In this context, this paper is an attempt to understand the process of labour migration, particularly among the young generation in Jhapa – the eastern most district of Nepal which shares international boundary with India through the Siliguri corridor of the state of West Bengal.
Jhapa is primarily an agrarian based economy. However, agriculture is no longer remains a preferable livelihood option particularly among the young generation. As a result, the district has witnessed increasing number of labour migration in recent past. India, being a large neighbouring emerging economy once attracted significant number of migrants only to be replaced by the Gulf, South East Asian and European countries later on. Labour migration has multipronged impact on Nepal and its people. At one hand, the process has strengthened the national exchequer in terms of foreign remittances ensuring economic development; but, on the other, it has also impacted the socio-cultural relationships particularly in the rural areas in an unprecedented manner. The dream of earning some extra income cost their family, identity, and even life. In many cases, women of a family suffer the most since the male members constitute majority of the migrants. Considering these arguments, the paper tries to assess the impact of labour migration on the rural society of Jhapa and its changing dynamics. In the process of discussion, it also tries to focus on the question of gender and address the issues involved.
Labour migration is the major livelihood decision in the rural Sudurpaschim and Karnali province of Nepal. The number of Indian labour migrants comes to Nepal in search of better opportunities and at the same time, larger size of Nepali labour migrants migrate to different cities of India. The objective of this study is focused to describe and compare the migration process of labour migrants between Nepal and India. With pragmatism paradigm of post-positivism, mixed methodology (QUAN-qual) has been implemented to explain the research questions, where quantitative is predominant methodology. To support and verified the collected information, qualitative study is also carried out in some cases which makes data more reliable. Quantitative method included survey with a sample of 650 households and qualitative method included one focus group discussion with both migrants group and two key Informant Interviews (KII) having long experience and knowledge in Nepal-India migration. For this research, Bhimdatt Municipality of Kanchanpur district is selected for the study area. The study showed that about 30 percent people from Bhimdatt Municipality migrate to the capital city Delhi. Similarly, 16 percent to Karnataka, 11.4 percent to Punjab, 10.6 percent to Maharashtra, 7.2 percent to Uttarakhand, 6 percent to Hariyana and others move to Gujarat, Himanchal Pradesh, Goa, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan. This finding challenges Revenstein's theory of migration in which the distance between the origins determines the volume of migration between place of origin and destination i.e. higher the distance, lower the volume of migration and vice versa. The main source of information seems to be generated with relatives and friends (50.9%) for both the migrants. The movement of Nepali labour migrants is found to different big Indian cities with longer distance however Indian labour migrants to Nepal choose near distance as their destination. Near distance, open border and social relationship (network) are the main causes of selection of their particular destinations.
Previous research on migration to new destinations suggests that migrants often move with little information or knowledge about their new destination. However, studies seldom address information and knowledge acquisition in this context more comprehensively, and evidence remains anecdotal. This paper addresses this gap, using data from an online survey (N = 255) and semi-structured interviews (N = 27) with Nepalis who recently moved to Malta, a new but growing destination for Nepali migrants. It asks how Nepalis find out about Malta as a potential destination, what information and knowledge they obtain about Malta prior to their migration, and how and where they access it. The analysis finds that most participants had never heard of Malta before, but strategically combined three channels to access information and build reliable knowledge about the country: networks, brokers, and the internet. Since Malta is a new destination for Nepalis, only some participants could rely on contacts in the country for information. Instead, many participants used networks within Nepal or in third countries. The paper also highlights and explains the unique efficiency of broker chains as information channels in young migration corridors. Finally, the analysis reveals the high relevance of the internet as a connecting, communication, research and fact-checking device. The paper concludes a broader conceptualisation of migrant networks beyond origin–destination links is necessary to account for intra- and third-country links, and calls for research into the unique dynamics of brokers as conduits of information. It also draws attention to the crucial relevance of the internet in migration processes, which remains little-researched and under-theorised in migration studies.
The labour migration from Nepal has been traditionally endemic to the GCC countries, Malaysia and India. However, this pattern has seen a shift in recent times with the rise of Eastern European nations as possible destination countries for Nepali migrant workers. These shifts in migration patterns have further created opportunities for Nepali migrant workers with the previously lucrative but unavailable Western countries now seeming a real possibility with Portugal starting to host, through formal and informal channels, a large number of Nepali migrant workers. This study intends to explore Nepali workers’ migration to Portugal encapsulating the attributes and influencing factors of this migration process. The study uses a sequential mixed methods methodology to explore the phenomenon with initial surveys and later in-depth interviews with migrant workers administered online. The study uses a snowball sampling approach which is necessitated by the lack of access to Nepali migrant workers in Portugal for the survey. The study uses purposive sampling method to select prospective interviewees. There is a paucity of studies which have explored the Nepali workers’ migration to Portugal in a broad sense with current studies instead narrowed down to focus on specific sectors like agriculture or issues such as exploitation. This study will provide novelty in its scope and will attempt to build knowledge on the entire migration process for Nepali migrant workers to Portugal which is expected to be useful for both academics and policymakers.