Chandan Kumar Mandal
Malaysia and GGC nation Qatar continue to attract more Nepali migrant workers and remain as top foreign employment destinations for the Himalayan country.
The Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE) data shows 104,209 Nepali workers received work permits for Malaysia and 103,179 for Qatar.
Malaysia and Qatar have welcomed more Nepalis in the past, however, departure to these countries has slowed over the last few months.
Workers’ travel plans to Malaysia went haywire in May after Nepal clamped travel ban. The decision followed after the government suspended many recruiting agencies, illegally charging workers extra fees to process visas.
Qatar is dealing with the economic blockade and diplomatic isolation by a group of Middle East countries led by Saudi Arabia since June 5, 2017.
The number of work permits issued for Qatar is 183,542 including the number of workers who received re-entry in FY 2017-18. Last year, number of work permits issued for Malaysia including re-entry was 137,311.
In FY 2016-17, the number of Nepali workers receiving work permits for Malaysia and Qatar was 119,601 and 206,958 respectively.
In FY 2017-18, 80,363 and 33,102 Nepali workers renewed their work permit to enter Qatar and Malaysia respectively, showing workers prefer a second innings in Qatar.
The Centre for the Study of Labour and Mobility (CESLAM) migration researcher Arjun Kharel said, “Qatar, Malaysia and other GCC countries have a constantly high demand for workers. Nepali workers are preferred for jobs sectors in security in these countries.
The proliferation of recruiting agencies and their agents focused on job markets in the Gulf and Malaysia, besides the social networking of aspiring workers with Nepalis already in these countries are other reasons.
DoFE data shows 612,685 labour permits; including re-entry 258,603 were issued for 142 countries. Likewise, 354,082 new labour permits were issued last year.
The number of work permits has dropped from 642,859 recorded in FY 2016-17 when 383,493 new work permits were issued.
“Labour migration is likely to continue in the near future as well since jobs opportunities are rare in Nepal. Although the government has policies and programmes to discourage labour migration, it will take some time for implementation,” said Kharel.
The number of countries with highest number of work permits issued includes the United Arab of Emirates (UAE) 114,941, followed by Saudi Arabia 108,414, Kuwait (27,149), Bahrain (8,454) and Oman (5,713).
Published on: 28 August 2018 | The Kathmandu Post