Nepal’s migrant workers face uncertainties amid COVID-19 flight ban

Nepal’s migrant workers that were hoping for the revival of labor markets abroad are now left in the lurch as the country started putting restrictions on flights amid surging COVID-19 cases

May 04, 2021
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Nepal’s migrant workers (File)

Nepal’s migrant workers that were hoping for the revival of labor markets abroad are now left in the lurch as the country started putting restrictions on flights amid surging COVID-19 cases. Last year, when international travel came to a halt following the pandemic, the labor market was disrupted badly. 

“Although labor destination countries are still open, COVID-19 cases have been rapidly increasing in Nepal and neighboring India and this has prompted the government to stop international flights for now,” Sujit Kumar Shrestha, the general secretary of the Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies, was quoted as saying by The Kathmandu Post. 

“This is yet another blow to the foreign employment sector which had not fully recovered from several months of flight suspension last year,” he added. He further said, “Last 14-15 months had been terrible for the foreign employment sector when we could not send workers because of the restrictions and a fall in demand.” 

In Nepal, for a foreign employment agency to renew its contract, it is required to send at least 100 workers abroad. Last fiscal year, 536 recruiting agencies couldn’t even meet the government threshold of sending a minimum of 100 workers. So far this year, only 123 companies fulfilled that criteria. 


Also, in recent weeks, the number of people interested in going abroad for work has been reduced. There are significant restrictions in the movement of people even thin the country. People from far-off villages are finding it difficult to reach the capital. 

 Experts fear if cases continue to rise like this, destination countries might soon move to ban flights from Nepal. 

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