Risking everything: vulnerabilities and opportunities in migration

6 February 2015 13:00 - 14:30 GMT+00
Public event
Streamed live online

Jessica Hagen-Zanker - ODI 

Anita Ghimire - Researcher 

Jagannath Adhikari - Migrating out of Poverty

Priya Deshingkar Migrating out of Poverty

Chair: Alan WintersMigrating out of Poverty

DiscussantCarlos Vargas-Silva (Senior Researcher, Migration Observatory) and Fiona Samuels (ODI)

Migration is one of the most effective ways of reducing global poverty. However, there are systemic features undermining its potential. This event, organised by the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC) and Migrating out of Poverty Consortium, explores  the risks and vulnerabilities that migrants face throughout the migration cycle – from pre-departure to the transit phase to employment in the new workplace – with a specific focus on Nepalese migration.

Drawing on research carried out in Rolpa district in western Nepal, the SLRC study finds that the economic returns of foreign employment come at a massive financial cost for migrants and their families – on average, households in Rolpa borrow the equivalent of one year’s entire household expenditure on food, housing, clothing, education and healthcare in order to send a family member overseas.  Securing work overseas means having to navigate a complex bureaucratic process and many migrants have no option but to pay a recruitment agent to guide them through the system. But their lack of familiarity with the rules, combined with the desperation to find well-paid work, makes them highly exploitable to these migration middle-men.

We will also be sharing findings from a recent piece of research carried out by the Migrating out of Poverty Research Programme Consortium. The consortium carried out a study focusing on the risks and impact of internal migration by construction workers from Saptari district in Eastern Nepal and Kavre district in Central Nepal– to Kathmandu. The study finds that remittances can help migrant’s families to escape poverty, by contributing to spending on consumption, children’s education, health and better housing. However, due to a lack of adequate safety and social protection policies, the long-term health condition of workers could be compromised, undermining their attempt to escape poverty.