84_On Remittance by xumiaomaio


									      Foreign Employment and Remittances
                           Umesh Upadhyaya

1. Bitter Reality

   Nearly 220 million working people are scattered all over the globe. However most
   of them are right-deprived, victimised and compelled to accept inhumane abuses.
   The destination country, where they provide their hard labour in production,
   services and development, doesnot recognize their contribution and ignores their
   existence in the workplace. The destination treats them like tools as an object in
   the method of curtailing labour costs and totally undermines the human aspect of
   migrant workers. On the other hand, the sending country or the native country
   merely calculates the amounts of remittances that they sent without any sensitivity
   for their living & working conditions and the extreme risks of life which they face
   continuously. In most of the cases, the sending country doesnot even provide
   minimum protection which can be easily managed through its embassy &
   diplomatic units.

   In the context of our country Nepal, the hardships and sufferings of Nepali
   migrants are still more miserable.As much as 400,000 young workers enter the
   labour market for jobs every year, but the absorption capacity of the economy is
   insufficient even for a number of 100,000. Thus a considerably high number of
   persosn in economicaly active age are compelled to go abroad in search of a better

2. Class base of the Nepali migrants

   Class position of the family of the workers concerned determines the destination
   country for their migration. Previously class aspect of Nepali workers was less
   relevant when they used to join arm force as lahure in other countries – the young
   workers ranging from the families of rich farmers to landless workers. Excluding
   those in arm force abroad, workers used to migrate towards Burma and Asam &
   in various parts of India to work as cattle herder, farmwork, porter, mining,
   domestic work and watchman. Diversity in class structure was very limited during
   the period.

   But class diversities today is quite significant in the form of divisions into a
   number of subclasses even within the working class. Hence the class position of
   nepali migrant workers is naturally in more varieties with high degree of
   clarity.Those who go to USA, Canada, Japan, Australia and various countries of
   Europe are highly educated from well to do families of Higher income groups and
   high middle income groups. They spend NRs. 500,000 to 1500,000 and join the
   foreign labour market of the advanced countries. The majority in this groups is
   from urban youths. The number of those who go as students is very high in
   Those who go to countries like South Korea, Malaysia etc. are normally from
   upper middle lower middle class families, who spent as much as NRs. 700,000 for
   the arrangements. The number is in majority from rural areas. Those who chose
   Arabic countries as their destinationnormally spent NRs. 100,000 to 200,000 and
   most of them are from lower middle class rural families with lower educational
   level. The young workers who manage to go to South Korea, Malaysia and Arabic
   land of Middle East mortgage thier ancestral property for travel arrangments.

   Those from landless families of poorest categories cross the Nepal-India border to
   join seasonal employment. They do not have any money to invest and rush to the
   border with few hundred rupees.

3. What statistics indicate ?

   From the Fiscal Year 1992/93 to 2002/03, within the decade the official statistics
   have shown that 350,000 workers have gone abroad for employment. After
   2002/03, the number started sharp upward shift position.

          Table 1: Nepali workes in foreign employment
                 Fiscal Year                 Number of workers
        2003/04                        106,660
        2004/05                        139,718
        2005/06                        165,252
        2006/07                        204,533
        2007/08                        249,051
        2008/09                        217,164
        2009/10                        294,094
               Source: Foreign Employment Department of Nepal Government

   In comparison to 0/08, slight decline is witnessed in 2008/09 basically caused by
   international finacial and the widepsread depression, however the flow has
   increased again in 2009/10. In totality, in previous 12 year period, the total
   number gone in foreign employment is 758,675 but within the latest 4 year
   period, the number is as high as 967,643, where the number of women is also
   23,725 from negligible position.

   Considering the flow of Nepali workers abroad in recent 4 year period, the major
   5 destination countries are Quatar, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain.
   However as an informal and seasonal destination, India covers the largest number
   of Nepali workers. nepali workers are also scattered in various countries though in
   small number.

   Mainly Nepali workers are working in Korea, Qubet, Lebnan, Israel, Hongkong
   and Japan. Working students are in large number in USA, Western Europe &
   Australia and these destinations are attractive for those who are educated & can
   afford high expenses.
          Table 2: Destination countries and number
                  Country                      Total Number
        Malaysia                        569667
        Qatar                          481748
        Soudi Arabia                   341325
        UAE                            214515
        Qubet                          20170
        Bahrain                        22564
        Korea                          6352
        Hongkong                       4379
        Oman                           11478
        Others                         54120
                  Total                1726318
               Source: Foreign Employment Department of Nepal Government

4. Contribution of Remittances

   The remittance sent by Nepali workers working under extreme risks in foreign
   land has become the major basis for Nepali economy to function. Considering the
   position of the last fiscal year, Remittance has contributed nearly 21% to the
   GDP.Every year Nepal is recieving remittance more than the amount of annual
   national budget which has saved our balance of payment from falling into
   unfavourable position.

                       Table 3 : Annual National Budget and Remittance
         Fiscal Year       Budget (in NRs. 00,000)    Remittance(inNRs. 00,000)
         2003/04          58,58,73                   1,02,40,00
         2004/05          65,54,12                   11,68,99
         205/06           97,68,85                   1,26,88,51
         2006.07          1,00,14,48                 1,43,91,23
         207/08           1,42,68,27                 1689956
         2008/09          2,09,07,00                 2,65,99,79
                                                 Source: NRB/Nepal Government

   If we compare the contributions of the workers who send remittance in extremely
   difficult conditions in Nepal with the non residential Nepalis, It is a fact that NRN
   normally spent their income in their country of settlement and send little or
   nothing to Nepal. In recent years NRNs are interested to invest in Nepal, but still
   the volume is very small. The contribution of the workers under extreme risks is
   highly significant. But policy-makers and state machinery/rulers are always
   grateful to NRNs and ignore the responsibility to protect these workers who send
   remittance. Naturally it reflects Pro-capital character of the state in Nepal
5. What next to be done ?

   From 17 years, GEFONT-Nepal has been working for the protection of Nepali
   migrant workers by organizing them into GEFONT Support Groups in the
   country where they work and to link them with the trade union movement of the
   same country. GEFONT has played a significant role in complicated cases and
   resuce work concerning migrant Nepali workers. More than a thousand workers
   have been benefitted through compensation as a result of GEFONT efforts.

   Two latest major cases can be mentioned here. From Saudi Arabia after
   continued efforts of 22 months GEFONT became successful to bring back the
   dead body of Ramesh Giri, who expired in August 2008, but with rhetoric of
   illegal stay, Saudi authorities were denying to handover the dead body to Nepali
   Embassy. GEFONT led the case to everywhere even to MoFA and the Prime
   Minister's office. Waiting for the dead body of the son, the mother had already
   passed away in early 2010. Normally people recieve dead bodies within a 3-
   month period, this case became so difficult that the family and relatives were
   hopeless to recieve his dead body for funeral and other cultural traditions.
   Finally in July 2010, the dead body could be recieved in Tribhuvan International
   Airport of Nepal. Another case is of two young guys who were captured by
   gangsters and smuggled to Turkey. The event was of December 2009, January
   2010. The Bangladeshi criminals after capturing them in an unknown place in
   Turkey, started to telephone the family of the guys to send money in a bank
   account in Turkey threatening the murder of them. From mobile the tortured
   voice of the kidnapped workers were relayed to the families by the criminals.
   Four times their family sent money, altogether 9,000, Euro, but still they did not
   release them, instead they were demanding more and more money. The family
   heads came to GEFONT. GEFONT requested to Trade Union Confederation of
   Turkey and by week-long effort of the Turkish union and Police on request by the
   Union, they were rescued and sen to Nepal.

   Unfortunately from the state side, effective initiatives are almost absent. In short
   and precise form, state should focus immediate atention on following points:
       Labour contract with destination countries in order to ensure Minimum
          wages, fringe benefits and legal protection for Nepali migrant workers.
       Control & minimization of irregularities, cheatings, corruption and
          irresponsible tendencies of foreign employment agecies
       Arrangement of provisions & Reliable mechanism in order to rescue those
          who are in extremely difficult conditions and to bring back dead bodies of
          workers quickly
       Protection of Nepali migrant workers through Embassies & diplomatic
          agencies of Nepal Government abroad
       Training & orientation to the officials & personnel of Diplomatic
          serviceworking abroad inorder to make them sensitive towards safe
          migration and Nepali migrant workers
           Appointment & training to Labour Attachee in all major destination
           Ensuring a relibale data-base system on Nepali migrant workers working

(The Article has been published in August 2010 in Nawayug monthly in
Nepali language)

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