# Foreign employment

12,000 Nepali migrant workers lost their lives abroad in one-and-half decades

Published On: May 24, 2023 08:00 PM NPT By: Sabita Khadka

KATHMANDU, May 24: The death toll of Nepali youth who have gone abroad for foreign employment has been increasing every year. There is no opportunity for employment in the country. Likewise huge human casualties of Nepalis going to work abroad are reported every year.

According to the data of the Foreign Employment Board, about 12,000 Nepalis who went for foreign employment lost their lives in the past one and a half decades. The statistics of Nepali workers who have gone abroad for employment and dying prematurely is appalling. According to the department, 11,978 people who went for foreign employment lost their lives from the financial year 2008/09 to April of the current year. During this period, 3,799 people died in Malaysia alone.

According to the data of the Foreign Employment Board, the number of Nepali workers who have died is highest in Malaysia. Similarly, 3,256 Nepali workers died in Saudi Arabia and 2,331 people in Qatar. Similarly, 1,290 people died in the UAE, 465 in Kuwait, 177 in Bahrain, 185 in Oman, and 57 in Japan.

The death rate has not decreased for a long time. Despite the physical examination of workers going for foreign employment and going through various stages, Nepalis are losing their lives every day. Heart attack is the most common cause of death of Nepali workers abroad. Accidents and suicides during work are also in the same amount. Nar Bahadur Chand, section officer of the Foreign Employment Board, said that many Nepali workers had to die due to cardiac problems including heart attacks, according to a research conducted by a group of Nepali researchers.

The high number of deaths due to heart attacks in young people in Gulf countries is due to the high temperature and work environment. Another reason is that workers who grow up in the Nepali environment, when they reach an unexpected environment, their lifestyle changes and they are treated differently," said Section Officer Chand.

There are many cases where workers who slept normally the day before were found dead in their beds the next day. Hospitals term such deaths as 'natural' in the post-mortem reports. According to the officials of the board, although the cause of death of Nepali workers who went for foreign employment appears to be natural, they say that there may be other internal reasons.

"Young people work till the previous day, eat comfortably and sleep, but the next day they are found dead. A deep study is needed on this subject but it has not been done, they said, working overtime, going to work without drinking water to reduce frequent urination, working in high temperature and sleeping in very cold rooms, taking excessive painkillers to relieve pain, causing kidney failure. Chronic diseases etc. are common. These all are the cause of untimely death,” the officials said.

The main reason behind Nepali workers committing suicide abroad is mental illness such as depression and anxiety. Family separation, loneliness, work pressure and changing climate are making them victims of depression and anxiety.

The family's hypothesis is that they will earn more money when they go abroad. Accordingly, the family has expectations and demands. Chand said that due to not being able to meet such demands and not having a good communication with the family, he even chose to commit suicide.

In case of death or dismemberment during foreign employment, the government has been giving relief money. Officials of the board said that Rs 700,000 will now be given to the families of those who died abroad after working abroad. The insurance amount for workers going to foreign employment has also been increased to Rs 140,000.

Even when going to work without properly understanding the rules and regulations of the destination country and the road or traffic rules, Nepali workers are getting into accidents. Officials of the board said, "It has also been found that some workers are hit by vehicles when they try to cross the highway after consuming alcohol and drugs." The speed of the vehicle is higher on the big highways, but Nepali workers have been involved in accidents when trying to cross the road by breaking the rules.

According to the rules of the workers who died during foreign employment, the board has been carrying out the work of taking the dead bodies to the families of the deceased free of charge through the employer company.

The bodies of those who died while employed but were not affiliated with any employer are being repatriated in coordination with the relevant mission. Chand stated that the government is also trying to guarantee the social security and social respect of the youth who are spending their youth and time abroad after they return to Nepal.

Chand informed Republica that one should not go abroad without training to prevent the death rate to some extent and the same board is providing the training. Due to the lack of skills, the problem of Nepalis being cheated abroad and not getting proper wages, the government is sending them abroad only after providing them skills.

Section Officer Chand said that the cause of death of Nepali workers in Malaysia and Saudi Arabia is completely different. As the working environment, rules and problems are different, the solution path should also be different. That is not happening," he said. "Since the main cause of death in Qatar is heart attack, now they should be provided with training and communication skills so that other Nepali workers don't die of the same reason.”

Likewise, many Nepali workers can be saved if they explain that the way of driving in Saudi Arabia and the traffic rules are different from Nepal.

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