Kathmandu, July 21
Nepali migrant workers continue to head abroad for work, but the number of Nepalis the country for new jobs continues to fall, official data for the recently-concluded 2018/19 FY shows. The figures indicate that new employment opportunities are getting hard to come by for Nepalis, who are currently working in 134 countries.
According to government figures of the 588,028 Nepalis who went abroad for work in 2018/19, only 236,211 were leaving for new job openings. During the same period the previous year, of the 612, 685 Nepali migrant workers who left the country, 354, 082 left the country for new jobs. This shows that the number of Nepalis going abroad for new jobs declined by around 33 per cent.
The number has continued to slide since a record 527,000 Nepalis went abroad for new jobs in five years ago. For a country like Nepal, where income from remittance is equivalent to around one-third of the GDP, this is a warning sign. However, Bhishma Kumar Bhusal, Director General of the Foreign Employment Department says that the government is not worried about the situation. He said,”We are more focussed on regulating foreign employment rather than on increasing the number of people going abroad,” he added. Bhusal said that the government’s policy was to discourage migration and provide job opportunities at home. That the numbers are declining means that our policies are working, Bhusal said.
Madhu Bilas Pandit, a foreign employment observer, however, disagrees. He says that the number of people who are returning to old jobs abroad is on the rise ad this is not a good sign. He said that the main reason new jobs were becoming difficult to get was that Malaysia remained shut for months and the government hasn’t found alternative destinations for migrant workers.
Despite the continuous decline in Nepalis going abroad for new jobs, Nepal’s remittance income increased by 17.5 per cent in 2018/19. During the previous year, growth was restricted to 7.3 per cent. As remittance income is calculated in Nepali Rupees, the weakening of the greenback against the Indian Rupee inflated the value of remittances, experts say. But with declining employment numbers, the remittance flow is certain to suffer this fiscal, they say. Former NRB Governor Dipendra Bahadur Chhetri says that the effect of the decline is already evident with growth limited to just 17.5 per cent.
Published on July 21st, Sunday, 2019 4:09 PM