A number of policy decisions relating to the private recruitment agencies (PRAs) have been made in Nepal, and there have been some news reports of these decisions benefiting the agencies. However, there is still a dearth of information on the extent of the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on Nepalese PRAs, their coping mechanisms and the recruitment industry in Nepal as a whole. It was in this context that this study was undertaken. Such an understanding is essential for the formulation of policies in support of a well-functioning labour migration system that enables and promotes fair recruitment practices and truly benefits migrant workers.
Most of the PRAs reported that their companies were facing multiple challenges, of which their main one was a cash crunch to maintain security deposits or run their offices. The PRAs were experiencing a number of constraints and challenges in operating their businesses. Most of the agencies identified their major business constraints as being the fear of COVID-19 among workers, the suspension of international flights, and the suspension of the issuance of labour permits. Two-fifths of the PRAs also cited lockdowns in the destination countries, the ensuing lack of labour demand and the closure of employer companies as being major hurdles.