Arati Pariyar is flying to Japan on May 20 to work as a nurse. She is among the first batch of students to receive nursing training at the Skill Education and Work Academy (SEWA) Nepal to work in Japan.
According to Pariyar, she will get a monthly salary of Rs172,125 (180,000 yen) and a Rs612,003 (640,000 yen) bonus twice a year.
Japan opened up its labor market to Nepalis as specified skilled workers in March 2019 after the two countries signed a memorandum of cooperation to send Nepali workers with the status of residence.
“Japan will recruit Nepalis in 14 sectors as per the memorandum of cooperation,” said Thaneshwar Bhusal, under-secretary at the Foreign Employment Management Section of the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security.
Japan is expected to hire an estimated 345,150 foreign workers in 14 sectors over a period of five year starting from 2019.
Key sectors include nursing care, agriculture, food and beverage manufacturing, and the food service industry.
Industry insiders say that, like Japan, many countries may soon open their doors to Nepali skilled workers, particularly caregivers due to a shortage of manpower to take care of an aging population.
“Besides Israel and Japan with which Nepal has signed formal agreements to send caregivers, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and some Gulf countries have informally asked for Nepali caregivers,” Bhusal said. “Most of the requests are informal, and we need to be clear on the policy.”
According to officials, the coming years may see bigger demand for skilled workforce from Nepal in the global market. As Nepal has been sending nearly half a million workers, mostly unskilled, to foreign countries annually, more youths, mainly skilled, may go abroad in the future for high-paying jobs.
The unceasing flow of remittance sent home by migrant workers has become a lifeline for the country’s economy.
Nepali migrant workers sent home Rs961.05 billion in the last fiscal year 2020-21 ended mid-July, a record-high money transfer to Nepal since Nepalis started going off to work overseas more than two decades ago.
“Demand for caregivers is high globally,” said Ichiro Kiryu, CEO of Human-i, a placement company in Japan. “Japan alone will require 700,000 caregivers by 2028.”
With many countries looking for caregivers, youth enrollment in nursing colleges and training institutes has been rising accordingly.
Prasiddha Kalakheti from Hetauda is excited about the prospect of working in Japan.
“I studied and underwent training for a year,” Kalakheti told the Post. “Finally, I am flying to Japan on June 10.”
According to Ram Prasad Sharma, director and principal of SEWA Nepal, 22 individuals trained there are set to fly to Japan as nursing caregivers. “We are authorized to send as many as 410 workers to Japan every year,” he said.
Health care workers are increasingly in demand in countries that have recently opened their doors, especially to caregivers.
The Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security said the British government had asked for 10,000 nurses from Nepal.
The British government plans to take 100,000 nurses from different countries, according to government officials.
Japan offers good salaries and benefits to foreign workers. “They are paid the same salaries as their Japanese counterparts. The monthly salaries of Nepalis in Japan range from Rs170,000 to Rs230,000 depending on the company,” said Sharma.
“No academic qualification is required to join the training program. Working conditions in Japan are good. This is a great opportunity for Nepali youths. “
Specified skilled workers can work in Japan for as long as five years.
“Nepalis started going to Israel to work as caregivers formally after the two countries signed an agreement in August 2015,” said Bhusal.
Israel agreed to hire 300 caregivers from Nepal through a government-to-government deal as part of a pilot project.
According to Bhusal, one of the provisions in the agreement says that the caregivers will be recruited to work in homes. Nepali women had already been working in Israel as domestic help before the 2015 agreement.
Israel stopped hiring Nepalis since 2009 citing widespread irregularities in the hiring process conducted by private overseas employment agencies in Nepal.
The labor agreement signed between Nepal and Israel on September 20, 2020 contained a new provision. As per the understanding, Nepali workers will be employed in Israel’s caregiving sector, mainly hospitals, nursing homes and day-care centers.
In January last year, the implementation protocol agreement was signed following which the selection and recruitment process of Nepali nationals for jobs in Israel formally began.
An examination was held and 1,132 individuals were selected to work in Israel, 297 of whom have already departed, and the rest will soon follow them, according to Bhusal.
“At a time when there are not adequate job opportunities in the country, these highly paid jobs are opportunities for Nepal,” said Bhusal. “Sending caregivers abroad to work in nursing homes and day-care centers is an important milestone in Nepal’s foreign employment sector.”
Nepal currently has labor agreements with nine countries — Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Japan, Israel, Jordan, South Korea, Malaysia and Mauritius.
Nepali migrant workers also consider South Korea a safe destination. A migrant worker can stay up to four years and 10 months there. Since 2008, more than 60,000 Nepali workers have gone to South Korea where they are mostly engaged in manufacturing and agriculture.
Since South Korea is also witnessing a rapidly aging population, demand for caregivers may rise soon, according to government officials.
“Observing the developments in this foreign job sector since 2015, we are working to form a concrete policy to determine how the public and private sectors can facilitate the employment of Nepali caregivers abroad,” said Bhusal. “We hope to reach a conclusion soon.”