Tens of thousands of Nepali migrant workers stranded in various foreign countries are reeling under severe financial implications due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Non-Resident Nepalis’ Association (NRNA), around 77% of the stranded Nepalis are desperate to return home.
Even though the Nepali Government has initiated the repartition process, many are unable to fly back home due to the hefty fees charged by the airlines.
Considering the pitiable conditions of the stranded Nepalis, the Supreme Court has ordered the Nepali Government to use foreign employment welfare fund to rescue who are unable to pay for the flight tickets.
A single bench of Justices including Ananda Mohan Bhattarai and Hari Prasad Phuyal issued the order on June 15.
“It’s the responsibility of the government to rescue the stranded migrant workers and send them to their respective destinations when they arrive in Nepal,” said the bench. “Nepalis go abroad to work not only for their personal economic gains; they also make huge contributions to the country’s economy.”
Foreign remittances contribute to around 28% of Nepal’s gross domestic product.
In 2018, the foreign remittances from the Nepali migrant workers around USD 8.1 billion made Nepal the 19th biggest beneficiary of funds from migrants around the world.
Even though the government has started airlifting Nepalis abroad from June 5, the migrants were in dismay seeing the ‘chartered fare list for 25 destinations’ unveiled by the authorities.
|Place (To/from Kathmandu)||Airfare per person|
|Hong Kong||USD 550|
|Kuala Lumpur||USD 520|
However, hundreds of migrant workers claimed that fares were three times the standard rate.
So far, the government has collected over NPR 6 billion in the foreign employment welfare fund with an aim to support migrants during any crisis.
The Foreign Employment Act, 2007 clearly mentions ‘situation of return and repatriation of Nepali migrant workers‘ as one of the conditions for mobilizing the welfare fund.
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