KATHMANDU, Nov 18: In the first three months of the current fiscal year, the UAE has become the primary labor destination for Nepali youths seeking employment abroad. According to data from the Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE), 37,492 young people arrived in the UAE for work between mid-July and mid-October of the current fiscal year alone. This group includes 7,015 women and 30,477 men.
The department's statistics indicate that the majority of Nepali women seeking foreign employment in the UAE do so with a work permit. This figure does not account for women without a work permit. Additionally, the UAE is a preferred destination for women traveling on visit visas through brokers, particularly those securing jobs as domestic workers.
Renowned for its skyscrapers, deserts, oil industry, and tourism, the UAE stands as one of the developed countries globally. Its rapidly growing economic activity has made it an attractive destination for Nepali laborers.
Kabiraj Upreti, the Information Officer of DoFE, notes that the UAE is considered a safe destination for Asian and African citizens to live and work. Upreti states, "Among the foreign workers, Indians are the most employed there," adding, "Followed by people from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Filipinos, Iranians, Egyptians, Nepalis, Sri Lankans, and Chinese in the UAE." The country's religious and cultural diversity has contributed to its reputation as a place of coexistence.
Many Nepali women have sought employment in the UAE, engaging in roles such as factory, cleaning workers, and domestic help. Upreti highlights that women often pursue opportunities abroad independently rather than through formal manpower channels.
"The UAE has become the first choice for Nepali workers due to increasing facilities and various reasons," he asserts. "That is why most Nepalis go to the UAE. There are many factors responsible for the high population growth rate in Dubai, the most important of which is the global outlook. Because of this, many foreign nationals are living in this area. The UAE is an open country, and we have found satisfaction in most of the young people who have gone to the UAE from Nepal. Nepalis can find the job they want in the UAE. The companies there offer what the workers desire. Additionally, a significant number of Nepalis aspire to enter Europe from the UAE. Nepali youths choose the UAE as a destination for foreign employment with their families, envisioning it as an orderly, safe, and dignified country."
"Due to political and economic stability, investors from around the world find it cost-effective and sustainable to open businesses in the UAE," Upreti continues, adding, "Since gaining independence, the UAE has provided shelter to millions of immigrants. As the UAE engages in oil and infrastructure activities, Nepalis seeking employment and investment opportunities consider the UAE a major destination."
In the last fiscal year 2022/23, a total of 161,159 people obtained work permits from Nepal and traveled to the UAE. This figure includes 24,000 women and 92,068 men.
Upreti acknowledges that while the government prioritizes skilled manpower, most women go abroad without specific skills. He notes that individuals who return to Nepal after working in the UAE often choose to return due to favorable opportunities. Upreti comments, "For a few, foreign employment in the UAE may be a desire, but for many, it has become a compulsion."
"Most people from Madhesh have gone abroad," Upreti observes. "Young people from Madhesh often rely on village agents or manpower companies to go abroad. In the UAE, Nepali youth tend to be employed in reputable companies, although some may end up in less desirable ones. Now, the main destination countries for young people include the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Malaysia."
Officials from the department note that a growing number of Nepali women are choosing Gulf countries for foreign employment, contributing to the overall increase in women going to the UAE.