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Labour migration in Nepal

Migration for foreign employment has become a major source of income for a many Nepali households. A recent report – Labour Migration for Employment: A Status Report for Nepal 2013/14 shows that the number of migrants leaving Nepal for work is increasing every year. During the last fiscal year 2014, more than 520,000 labour permits were issued to Nepalis planning to work abroad. Malaysia is now the number one destination country for Nepali migrants, closely followed by Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait. The same report concluded that overseas employment is heavily male dominated: roughly 95 per cent of all labour permits are given to men. However, other data that captures those working in India (where labour permits are not required) or those leaving to work abroad through informal channels indicate that female migration might be as high as 12 per cent of the total workforce abroad.

Remittances have become a major contributing factor to increasing household income as well as to the national GDP. In 2013, remittance inflows topped US$5 billion, or 25 per cent of the national GDP. This placed Nepal third among the countries receiving the highest proportion of remittances in terms of GDP.

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