Foreign employment: 539 deaths in six months

Published On: January 17, 2024 12:15 PM NPT By: Sabita Khadka

KATHMANDU, Jan 17: Along with the surge in the number of Nepalis going abroad for employment, the death toll of Nepali youth is also increasing. According to the Foreign Employment Board (FEB), 539 individuals have lost their lives during foreign employment till the end of Paush (by mid-January) in the current fiscal year.

Looking at the data of the financial assistance received from the FEB by the beneficiaries of those who lost their lives during foreign employment, the number of deaths during foreign employment is alarming.

Similarly, there are 221 cases of illness and amputation during foreign employment, 94 individuals receiving family treatment expenses. Additionally, 124 dead bodies recovered from foreign employment, 387 dead bodies have been repatriated and search and rescue is on for 73 individuals.

The number of deaths during foreign employment is high. The said data is only of those who have received financial assistance from the FEB. Even after the contract period ends, if the worker dies while in foreign employment, the relatives of such deceased do not get financial assistance from the FEB. Every year, thousands of Nepalis reach different countries in search of employment.

According to the data of the FEB, a number of Nepalis who have gone abroad are getting sick due to serious diseases, are being amputated during work and are dying. Many young people who have gone abroad due to the economic situation back home have to return to their country due to illness, dismemberment and death during their foreign employment. Officials of the FEB have stated that there is a higher risk of kidney disease among Nepalis working in the Gulf countries and Malaysia.

According to the executive director of the FEB, Dwarika Upreti, hot working environments, outdoor work and exposure to dust also cause various diseases. Upreti said that although those who go for foreign employment undergo a health check-up, they get sick and die due to the unfamiliar environment. Mainly heart diseases, road accidents, workplace accidents, kidney diseases, heart attacks, cancer and various other diseases cause illness and injuries to Nepalis who have gone abroad for employment. Many have lost their lives. Officials of the FEB say that Nepalis who have gone to Gulf countries have suffered more.

According to the legal procedure of the FEB, in order to receive financial assistance, the families of the people who are ill, dismembered or die in the course of foreign employment must be approved for work, and after renewing their work permit, they must submit an application to the FEB within a year of the illness or death. Officials of the FEB have said that among the workers who have come to the Gulf and other countries for employment, three dead bodies are returned every day.

The executive officer said that the post-mortem report of the workers who died while sleeping abroad revealed that some of them died due to natural causes and some due to cardiac problems.

The number of workers who pass away while sleeping is more than the number of deaths due to accidents and other causes. "Despite the post-mortem in the hospital of the respective country, the cause of death often remains unclear," he said.

Although the number of skilled Nepali workers is high, the number of deaths has not decreased. As a result, the increase in the number of deaths in foreign employment and the number of sick and disabled returnees indicates that foreign employment is not yet safe.

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