Migrant worker: Some issues and challenges

Full Text Sharing

Ravi Tamang (name changed) joined the office as a migrant worker in January 2013. Soon after joining the office, his father died in Nepal. He submitted the leave application to conduct the last rites and rituals of his father. Initially it was turned down but then he was granted to leave during the month of June.  On August 22, he resumed his duty but was ousted immediately under various pretexts. Similarly, another Nepali, who was working along with four Chinese in Korean based company, was facing the psychological torture time and again. He was discriminated on the basis of his country of origin, religion and economic status. Further, he was accused of hatching the conspiracy against the company and its owner. What is most disheartening is that he was underpaid while the other four Chinese were drawing the handsome salary for the same tasks and responsibilities. In another incident, a migrant worker from Nepal was in dire need of few days leave to come to Nepal for some house related purpose. On the basis of consensus, he was granted leave for a few days. However, when he returned to the duty station he was ousted by the company owner citing several reasons.

A 30 year Nepali girl from eastern district of Nepal said that many women as a migrant worker in the destination country are sexually abused, and impregnated. In many cases, their pregnancy culminates into miscarriage owing to harsh working conditions such as cold weather and lifting heavy weights. Needless to mention, if they disobey their immediate supervisor they would risk their respective jobs. As a result, they are left with no other option but to succumb to their inhuman demands to sustain your job.

Maya Tamang, a resident of Sindhuli district, also shared her similar story. She said that she worked as migrant worker in a Korean based company for three years. During this period, she said that she faced intimidation for multiple times, and even sexually molested on number of occasion. To the most chagrin, the perpetrators threatened her of dire consequences if she reports it to the concern authority. Anita lama, 28, of Kavre district also suffered similar exploitation and torture while working as a migrant worker in a Korean based company five years ago. She said that despite working for 14-18 hours a day, she was deprived of perks and benefits as per the agreed commitment between the owner of the company and employer. Surprisingly, the Korean co workers were receiving perks and benefits while I was always denied under various pretexts.

All these cases clearly indicate that the migrant workers have been continuously exploited and discriminated by their owner in particular and co workers from the destination country in general. It is worth mentioning here that the reports of torture and exploitation have not reduced in significant manner despite the commitment on part of the countries- both source and destinations.

Unemployment is a major problem in country like ours which is passing through a protracted political transition. It has occupied the center stage of discussion in recent times. Several factors contribute to increase the unemployment in the country. They are, inter alia, political instability, feeble economic growth, lack of huge infrastructure, high birth rate and relatively young population and absence of conducive environment for foreign investment.

According to recent report published by government of Nepal, at least 40 thousands job aspirants, primarily young graduates, go abroad in search of greener pasture.  A Basundhara based recruitment agency informs that it sends approximately 200 people for foreign employment every month. Most of those people include the youths from villages and far flung areas of the country.

Needless to mention, foreign employment has been keeping the economy of country afloat. Some economists claim that it is the backbone of national economy. They argue that Nepal, as an emerging country from decade long armed struggle, is not in position to sustain its growth in the absence of remittance. However, the nation cannot overlook the challenges and other grave issues that come along with it.  

Nepal is in the process of political transition. The second election to the constituent assembly was held in November 2013. The congress led government under the octogenarian Sushil Koirala is in place. The political parties have claimed that the CA will deliver the constitution within the deadline which is approaching remarkably. Therefore, there must be strong voices from all quarters of people to incorporate the issues related with migrant workers in strong manner in the constitution to be promulgated through constituent assembly. Only, this will ensure the guarantee of the safety of migrant workers in destination countries.



Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.