On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic after more than 118,000 people got affected in 114 countries and the death toll rose to 4,291. Due to its rapid pace, the situation has been considered more pressing. One way to contain this pandemic has been to control the movement of people from one location to the other- controlling all the inbound and outbound travel. In doing so many migrant workers got wedged in the destination countries, struggling even to fulfill their basic needs more so in countries with highest proportion of Nepalese Migrant Workers (NMW). The most popular destination, in the past nine fiscal years, has been the six GCC countries (the Gulf Cooperation Council-GCC)[i] and Malaysia with 86.42% NMW of the total migration[ii]. Even more, India has the highest number of Nepalese migrant workers but remain undocumented due to the open-porous border with Nepal.  These workers remain the most affected; living in the most undesirable conditions with overcrowded accommodations and lack of proper basic needs. The worldwide lockdown has created even unpleasant situation as the workers are forced to stay home in adverse conditions, especially to the wage workers and/or workers with unpaid leave. While some are barred from getting paid, the others are forbidden from the basic necessities like sanitized environment or healthy food. Amongst the various categories of Migrant Workers, the undocumented ones are gravely impacted as they remain excluded of any assistance or provision as guaranteed by the state and are compelled to stay underground. Adding to the already squalid conditions, they remain at high risk of contagion with no safety or any preventive gears. The case remains static or gets even worse during the pandemic situation as COVID-19.    

 

With an aim of circulating the information regarding Labor migration during the pandemic, Center for Migration and International Relations (CMIR) has been disseminating a weekly newsletter shared every Friday via MailChimp targeting mostly the stakeholders such as policymakers, government agencies including Nepali missions Abroad, Organizations (NGOs, INGOs and CSOs), Migration Recourse Centers (MRCs), media personnel and most importantly the migrant communities/network.  The newsletter aims at providing information regarding the current COVID-19 situation in the destination countries, any policy changes adopted by the Government and/or recommendations to do so and circulate information regarding the impacts of COVID-19 to the Migrant Workers. The information is aimed to whoever, in one way or the other, has created an impact in the life of a migrant worker and supports them during their stay in the destination countries as well as work to guarantee their rights during this time.  Additionally, CMIR has been in touch with these migrants; communicating with them, assisting them with their queries, arranging their travel plans,  sharing important information as published by the Nepal Embassy in the destination countries and spreading awareness about COVID-19. This guarantees the right to information and its accessibility to the Migrant Workers. It has helped them cope with the COVID situation by assuring safety for themselves, getting in touch with their families, knowing the situation back home and preventing the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, it has assured them of their travel arrangements and other necessary details during their stay in the destination countries. 



[i] Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)

[ii] Labor Migration for Employment: A Status Report for Nepal: 2015/2016 & 2016/2017. Retrieved from: https://asiafoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Nepal-Labor-Migration-status-report-2015-16-to-2016-17.pdf

 

 1. घर जान पाउँ अभियान/ Right to Return Campaign
 
  घर जान पाउँ अभियान / Right to Return Campaign aims to support and sensitize the government of Nepal to      
  ensure migrant worker's right to return home in any adverse situation.
                                            fbclid=IwAR3sytzRxFmoNF9NnVN0uP_YoAs_ZOrY77IyA5BX3oL5sXjA_xTuboG48w0

 2. Policy Paper/Webinar on COVID-19 and Labour Migration 

          First Webinar on COVID-19 and Labour Migration
      The report of the first webinar held on 16th April with 14 Migrant Resource Centers(MRCs) of province 1 and 2 is 
       out, it includes: 
1) Impact of COVID-19 on an individual and the local community,
2) Impact of COVID-19 on Migrant Workers, their families and remittances, and
3) New policy remarks and amendments in Nepal as well as the destination countries.
 
Policy Recommendation Paper on CoVID-19 and Labour Migration
The policy recommendation paper based on the webinar jointly organized by CMIR and Shramik Sanjal on 23rd April 2020 is now public. The top three recommendations as attained from the webinar were:
  • The “Right to Return”, one of the provisions of human rights should be upheld by the
    Government of Nepal. Upon returning an arrangement for quarantine area shall be
    needed to prevent the spread of infection, if any.
  • In case it is not possible, an alternative must be derived through a diplomatic negotiation
    between the country of origin and the destination countries with an aim to ensure the
    rights of migrant workers. In doing so, the other human rights that deals with the right to
    basic health, shelter, food, right to employment and work, right to information and
    privacy should be guaranteed and respected by the Government of Destination countries.
  • Prioritizing the categories of migrant workers on the basis of legality, gender and
    financial status is highly recommended, followed with a well devised action plan by the
    Government of Nepal that includes the data of the migrant workers, their whereabouts,
    and the status of their return to the country or their respective communities.
 
     3. Weekly Newsletter COVID-19 and Labour Migration 

 
 
 
 
 

 

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