The global economic meltdown has an adverse impact on major labor destinations of Nepali workers, but the Nepali foreign employment sector has seen only nominal effects so far, official statistics indicates.
The data compiled recently by the Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE) of Nepal shows that the number of workers leaving for different job markets increased to 18,091 during mid- March to mid-April, up from 16,868 a month earlier.
There's actually been a recent uptick in the number of departures to key labor markets of Qatar, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia, local news website Myrepublica reported on Monday.
The total number of Nepali overseas jobseekers flying to Qatar rose to 7,297 for the period spanning mid-March to mid-April, compared to 6,424 outbound workers a month ago, and the number of Malaysia-bound Nepalis was 1,680, up from 1,516. Among Nepali workers, Qatar and Malaysia are the most-favored destinations.
The number of outbound workers for the UAE and Saudi Arabia also saw a similar increase, to 2,424 individuals and 4,888 individuals, during mid-March to mid-April. The figures were 2,398 and 4.493, respectively, a month earlier.
"The global financial crisis began to affect the major labor destinations around the beginning of this year, but the number of job opportunities for Nepali youths in these places did not decline, thanks to a continuing demand for Nepali blue-collar workers," the report said.
The official data shows that over the last nine months of the current fiscal year since mid-July, 2008, the number of youths getting jobs on foreign soil increased by 3.4 percent over the numbers of the same period a year before, to 173,825 individuals.
This increase happened despite the fact that during the nine months of the current fiscal year when the major destinations like Malaysia and the UAE have both decided to tighten the entry of foreign workers for a few months.
The increase in the overall numbers was contributed mostly by Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The number of workers leaving for Qatar and Saudi Arabia rose to 59,923 individuals and 38,064 individuals during the review period, up from 59,416 individuals and 27,215 individuals for last year, respectively.
"Again, the reason that the number of Nepali workers heading for Saudi Arabia and Qatar continued to go up over the nine months was that Nepalis were willing to do all the dirty work that the natives in these countries don't want to do," the Nepali news website said.
"More than 90 percent of the total Nepali overseas workers are blue-collar workers," says Yuvraj Pandey, secretary at the Ministry of Labor and Transport Management of Nepal, "Employment opportunities for our workers appear to be unaffected, as the demand for low-end jobseekers is still high in those labor destinations."