This reflects an increased global focus on human rights in the migration process and a growing sensitivity among the Nepali public to the treatment of their compatriots abroad. However regulation of the influential recruitment industry, which maintains close relationships with political parties, is a major challenge, given the rampant abuse of migrant workers and the intense competition - between recruiters and with other origin states - for jobs in wealthy destination countries. On top of these challenges international bodies have criticised the lack of coordination between the numerous ministries and committees managing migration policy, exacerbated by political instability, frequent changes in government and a high turn-over of labour ministers over the past decade.
The Arab Gulf states, and in particular Qatar, are a major destination for Nepalis. In 2017/2018, Qatar hosted 29% of all Nepali workers migrating to countries other than India, with workers in Qatar sending home US$870m in remittances. Qatar has among the world’s highest GDP per capita, and migrant workers outnumber nationals in Qatar by nine to one, attracted by opportunities for work created by a 20-year construction boom. While viewed as an economic necessity, this population imbalance is also seen by the government as a potential threat to a Qatari “national identity”, and policies are designed to maintain the temporary basis upon which most of its low-income, overwhelmingly male, migrant workforce is recruited and prevent them from settling and obtaining citizenship. Qatar came under intense international pressure over the treatment of migrant workers, particularly those from Nepal, after it won the right to host the 2022 World Cup. In 2017, it embarked on a cooperation programme with the ILO and has subsequently undertaken a series of reforms.