Nepal joined the International Organization for Migration (IOM) as a member state in 2006. The following year, the Government of Nepal (GoN) and IOM signed a Cooperation Agreement to encourage cooperation and enhance service delivery in Nepal, which is a country of origin, transit, and destination of migration. 

Initially, IOM focused on the resettlement of Bhutanese refugees. Since then, the scope of IOM’s activities in Nepal has expanded significantly, both in terms of programme areas and target populations. 

IOM has been supporting the GoN’s efforts to manage migration more effectively through a wide range of programmes.

Our programmes include:

IOM actively assists GoN’s endeavors in enhancing the effectiveness of migration management. Additionally, IOM supports Regional Consultative Processes on Migration by providing technical expertise, policy guidance, research, capacity building, and targeted project initiatives. 

Moreover, IOM has been instrumental in helping the GoN develop resilient communities through improving the federal, provincial, and local disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) legislative regulatory framework. This support facilitates timely and comprehensive disaster management.

As a member of the United Nations Country Team, IOM operates within the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) for 2023-2027. This framework represents a strategic partnership between the GoN and the United Nations to accelerate social and economic transformation across the nation, forging inclusive and sustainable development with a commitment to leave no one behind.

IOM’s work in Nepal focuses on three objectives:
  -   Saving lives and protecting people on the move.
  -   Driving solutions to displacement.
  -   Facilitating pathways for regular migration. 

With over 2.1 million Nepalese living and working abroad, (National Statistics Office, 2021), migration is quite significant, with more than half of Nepalese households having at least one member who has migrated or returned from abroad. However, migration presents challenges, such as labour rights issues, human trafficking, and exploitation.

IOM plays a crucial role in managing migration-related issues in Nepal. It operates under the principles of humane and orderly migration. 

IOM works to address these challenges through various programmes, including pre-departure orientation, capacity building for stakeholders, development of supportive migration policies and assistance for returning migrants.

Overview of Nepal

Nestled in the heart of the Himalayas, Nepal is a nation rich in cultural heritage, natural beauty and a history marked by resilience and transformation. Governed by the Constitution of Nepal 2015, which established the Republic of Nepal as a Federal State, the nation has emerged from a decade-long armed insurgency and another nearly decade-long political transition. 

Migration is deeply intertwined with the socioeconomic fabric of Nepal, shaping its demographics, economy and culture over the centuries. The search for better opportunities abroad is driven by factors such as poverty, political instability and limited employment prospects. 

The Gulf countries, Malaysia, India, and the Western nations are among the most common destinations for Nepalese migrants. Remittances from migrants constitute a significant portion of Nepal's GDP, contributing to household incomes, poverty reduction and overall economic development.

Nepal ranks among the world's most disaster-prone countries, facing recurring earthquakes, floods, landslides and avalanches that have had devasting effects. The increasing threat of climate exacerbates challenges, affecting livelihoods, food security and water resources. 

Natural hazards have displaced populations, leading to temporary or permanent migration within and outside of Nepal. These migration trends are expected to increase, highlighting the need for robust disaster preparedness and adaptive strategies to protect Nepal's communities and environment.