International migration has been a major source of income for many Nepalese families. Recent Report – Employee Migration Employment: Nepal Status Report shows that the number of migrants migrating from Nepal to work is increasing every year. During the last financial year, more than 520,000 work permits were issued to Nepalese people planning to work abroad. Malaysia is now the leading country for Nepali immigrants, followed closely by Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Kuwait. The same report concludes that maritime employment is largely male-dominated: about 95 percent of all work permits are granted to men. However, other data on those working in India (where workers’ permits are not required) or those who leave to work abroad illegally indicate that women’s migration may account for 12 percent of all workers abroad.
Remittances have had a significant impact on increasing domestic and national GDP. In 2020, revenue generated exceeded US $ 7.4 billion, or 25 percent of national GDP. This places Nepal as the third-largest earner in terms of GDP.
Nepali migrant workers make a significant contribution to the development of their country but also to the countries they go to where they fill the labor market by doing jobs that the people of the country cannot or are not willing to fill. But their contribution does not reduce their vulnerability to exploitation and harassment of workers. Studies of employment procedures and working conditions for low-skilled immigrants often reveal indications of abuse that are often associated with exploitation, including coercion and trafficking.
The ILO(International labor organiation) is the only United Nations agency with a constitutional mandate to protect immigrant workers, and it does so as part of its larger goal of fulfilling the noble duties of all peoples. In addition to adopting International Labor Standards that cover a wide range of employment-related areas (applicable to all persons working in their workplaces regardless of nationality), it has pioneered certain International Conventions to regulate immigration policy and protection of immigrant workers. These include the Migration Workers ‘Conference (Revised), 1949 (No. 97), and the Migrant Workers’ Conference (Additional Terms) of 1975 (No. 143). All four sections of the ILO – standards, employment, social protection, and social negotiations – deal with labor migration. The ILO also promotes third-party participation, the participation of governments, employers, and workers, in the formulation and implementation of migration policies and programs.
In Nepal, the ILO works with the Department of Labor and Employment, unions and employers’ organizations, research institutes, and civil society organizations to improve the overall governance of migrants, combat trafficking, and ensure the protection and dignified employment conditions of Nepali immigrant workers at all stages of their migration cycle.
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