The migration of Nepalese to the United States has increased significantly over the last decade. Lack of adequate educational and career opportunities along with political instability in Nepal have contributed to the surge in the number of migrants.
For many Nepalese aspiring to live the American dream, education is a limiting factor. Nepal’s low literacy rate makes it difficult for many immigrants from the country to find proper employment. Sometimes even well-educated Nepalese, who left good jobs at home to come to the US, find that their degrees and work experience from Nepal are not recognized. There are many instances of professionals, who earlier worked as teachers and engineers in Nepal, having to take up jobs as cab drivers in the US.
Cultural and language differences create a barrier for the Nepalese community in integrating with the local population. Nepalese parents find it especially difficult to raise their children in the new environment. They fear that their traditional methods of parenting, which sometimes includes corporal punishment, may be construed as domestic violence and lead to their deportation. Kids on the other hand are often subjected to bullying and discrimination in schools.
Finding safe and affordable housing is another problem for immigrants with low-paying jobs. Most of the Nepalese students in the US have to struggle for financing their tuition and expenses by working long hours at odd jobs in grocery stores, gas pumps and restaurants.
Undocumented workers in particular are very vulnerable to exploitation and do not have access to basic services such as health insurance. They also live under the constant fear of being deported.
There are also concerns regarding the policies of the present United States government towards immigration and their impact on Nepal. Even though the US has been one of Nepal’s major development partners for over half a century and accommodates a large number of immigrants from Nepal each year, Nepalese are worried about the possible modifications to the US Diversity Visa lottery program under the Trump regime.