International Migration has been a main pillar of national and household economy in Nepal, which is severely affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Many current migrants experienced job losses, laid off, and were on unpaid leave. Those who are still at work have faced a reduction in work hours or pay or both. The COVID-19 also put a halt in the process of migration of aspirant migrants. Large number of aspirant migrants who have taken labour permits from the Government to work abroad have not been able to fly out due to travel restriction. On the other hand, the large number of returnee migrants have stressed the domestic labour market, increasing the unemployment and also faced the stigma as a COVID-19 spreader in the country. Such crisis in labour mobility has consequences on social and economic landscape.
This study examined the status of, challenges, and vulnerabilities faced by Nepali migrant workers in the context of COVID-19 pandemic and supports needed for their sustainable reintegration. It is based on phone interviews with 3,000 migrant workers including returnee, in-service and aspirant migrant workers. This report will be an important tool for evidence-based policymaking and programme planning for policymakers and practitioners, which provides an overview and analysis of the migrant’s situation, their repatriation and reintegration plan.