KATHMANDU: Nepal received the highest amount of remittance from Malaysia, the most popular destination among Nepali migrant workers.
According to Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), Nepali migrant workers in the Southeast Asian country sent home 132.75bil rupees (RM5bil) in the first 11 months of the last fiscal year. The amount represents 22 per cent of the total remittance received by the country. In the first 11 months of the last fiscal year, the country received 598bil rupees in remittance.
Meanwhile, the US unexpectedly emerged as the second largest remittance sending country even though a far larger number of Nepali workers are employed in the Gulf. Nepali migrants in the US sent back 110.03bil rupees during the review period.
Qatar, Japan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, the UK, Australia, Bahrain and Kuwait were the other top 10 remittance sending countries.
According to remittance service providers, the figures are not surprising at all since Malaysia has been the preferred country for Nepali migrant workers. “Malaysia has been the favorite destination for Nepali migrant workers because of easy access, high demand and a favourable weather, among other reasons,” said Suman Pokhrel, CEO of IME Remit, one of the largest remittance service providers in the country.
However, remittance inflows from Malaysia might be hit in the future as the number of workers going there dropped sharply in the last fiscal year. According to the Department of Foreign Employment, departures plunged almost 70 per cent. In 2014-15, a total of 202,828 Nepali workers streamed to Malaysia. By the last fiscal year, the figure had dived to 60,979.
Departures to Malaysia were hit by a dispute between manpower agencies and the government over the free visa, free ticket scheme. After the government said that potential migrant workers could not be charged for visas and air tickets, recruitment firms became reluctant to send them to Malaysia. The agencies said that hiring demand in Malaysia had plunged 90 per cent.
Remittance companies said the repercussions of a drop in departures to Malaysia would be seen in a few years. “Remittance from Malaysia will definitely not be similar in the future,” said Sujen Shakya, assistant manager of Prabhu Money Transfer.
Meanwhile, remittance companies disputed the central bank’s statistics listing the US as the second largest source country. “A majority of US-based money transfer companies report that remittance was received from the US while making the settlement,” said Pokhrel. “The US figure includes remittance sent from European countries too.” - The Kathmandu Post/Asia News Network