Research Workshop on Migration, Remittances and Development Kicks Off in Nepal
Kathmandu – A two-day workshop on migration, remittances and development opened in the Nepali capital today (22/08). The meeting, which was attended by government officials, development partners, diaspora associations, private recruitment agencies and the private sector, will contribute to the integration of remittances in Nepal’s national development policies.
Nepal received USD 8.1 billion in remittances in 2016 and ranks 23rd among all remittance-receiving countries in the world. In terms of the contribution of remittances to GDP, it ranks third after Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic. Over half of all Nepali households have at least one family member currently working as a migrant abroad or living in Nepal as a returnee.
“Financial flows from migrant workers to their home communities are one important positive aspect of the relationship between migration and development. Most attention to date has focused on the research, policy development, and financial industries on migrant workers’ remittances,” said Paul Norton, IOM Chief of Mission in Nepal.
“We are conducting a research project that takes a broader and deeper look at the reality. The initiative is based on the premise that financial, human and social wealth accumulated by migrant workers abroad are interlinked, and that this accrued wealth has real potential to substantially impact the economic and social development of Nepal,” he added.
The study covers 31 districts and three ecological belts (mountains, hills and Terai) of Nepal, and focuses on data collection from Nepali households (both with and without migrants), including current migrants in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Member States, as well as Malaysia, Korea and India.
“I believe the data and evidence generated through the research and the consultative process will provide the Government, civil and private sector entities with solid baselines against which to formulate future policies, projects and market interventions for migration and development," said Bhuvan Acharya, Ministry of Labour and Employment Joint Secretary.
Key findings show that remittance-receiving households spent less money on consumption than previously thought, and that more migrants (88 per cent) now prefer to use formal channels to send money home. Some 39 per cent of remittances were spent on consumption, 28 per cent on savings and loan repayment, 26 per cent to purchase property, and 7 per cent on businesses.
The research was carried out by the Institute for Integrated Development Studies and International Agency for Source Country Information (IASCI), in close coordination with the Central Bureau of Statistics and IOM, and was part of the project, “Research and Policy Dialogue Initiative on Migration and Development in Nepal”, funded by the IOM Development Fund (IDF).
The project is implemented by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, the Ministry of Labour and Employment, the International Agency for Source Country Information, the National Planning Commission, the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development and the Ministry of Finance.
Representatives of Nepal’s National Planning Commission, the Ministry of Labour and Employment and IOM address the workshop. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017