Feature: Migration to seek jobs abroad remains a pressing concern in Nepal

Mass rallies and protest actions demanding that the government creates more jobs in the country to stop the migration of youths abroad were the highlights during the celebration of the International Youth Day in Kathmandu on Monday.

Hundreds of youths joined the peaceful rally organized at various places by different youth organizations. Some came to join the rally to vent their frustration over the government’s failure to provide job opportunities to thousands of Nepali youths, who have been forced to leave the country in search of greener pastures in other countries. Some joined to show their solidarity for the cause.

Niraj Shrestha, a 25-year-old youth from Biratnagar, eastern Nepal, was among those who marched in the capital. Shrestha, who holds a degree in English, is soon leaving for Qatar after failing to get a decent job in Nepal for more than a year.

Shrestha opted to accept a minor job in a supermarket in Doha on the advice of his friend, who works in the same establishment.

“I don’t belong to a well-off family. I have no other choice but to leave the country,” said Shrestha. “I hope things will get better in the future in the country, but I can’t wait any longer.”

Political instability has hit the Nepali economy hard in recent years. According to Central Bureau of Statistics, the unemployment rate stands at an alarming 46 percent. And experts believe unless political stability is achieved, the situation in Nepal would worsen.

In his address during a program marking the International Youth Day, Khila Raj Regmi, Nepal’s Interim Prime Minister said that the government had taken the issue of migration seriously and it would soon come up with various plans to solve the problem.

The government of Nepal had recently announced that it will create 50,000 new jobs this year. It said that 14,600 jobs would be created under its Micro-Enterprises Development Programme (MEDP) , while the rest could be generated by medium and large scale industries that the government hopes to help put up.

But youths like Shrestha are in no mood to wait any longer, pinning all their hopes in migrating to foreign countries to seek a way out from their woes.

It is reported that every day some 1,300 young Nepalese leave the country for foreign employment. An estimated 2.1 million Nepalese are now working abroad, mostly in the Middle East, and sending money to support their families in Nepal.

According to news reports, aside from the Gulf countries, India and Malaysia are the most preferred destinations of Nepalese migrant workers.

Like Shrestha, Anil Gurung will also be leaving for Doha in a month’s time. But Gurung’s reason for leaving is different from that of Shrestha.

The 28-year-old is quitting his job in a pharmaceutical company here to work for a similar company in a foreign land because of a handsome salary.

He said that it would be much easier for him to support his family from abroad because he has been promised a much better salary for the same type of work.

Migration, however, is not entirely bad for the Nepalese economy. In fact, remittances from Nepalese migrant workers have propped up the country’s economy in recent years.

Official data showed that remittances of migrant workers have been the main source of the country’s foreign reserves, and 40 percent of the state budget comes from the earnings of Nepalese migrant workers from abroad.



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