In 2015, remittances reached 6.9 billion USD. Overseas employment is the largest foreign exchange earning source for both the Nepalese and the Sri Lankan economy. Since formal labour migration commenced, it has generated substantial and continuously growing inflows of remittances, while at the same time relieving pressure on unemployment. In Nepal, barely 2,000 people registered as migrant workers 20 years ago, but in recent years, on average, around 500,000 Nepalese have been leaving the country for foreign employment annually. Remittances have continuously increased and reached 6.3 billion USD in the Nepalese fiscal year 2015/2016, which equals 30 per cent of the GDP.

What is the money used for?

Whether migration indeed has beneficial impacts on long-term sustainable development of the migrant families depends on a wide range of variables, such as the local context, type and extent of migration and the size of remittances. More concretely, the main impacts depend directly on patterns of expenditure, investment and labour allocation in migration households, or in other words whether the income is used on production or only consumption.