In recent years, migration has become increasingly predominant, with an increasing number of Nepalis migrating not only to the common destination of India, but also further abroad to countries such as Israel, Malaysia and Japan. Economic reasons are the primary forces of migration, including lack of food, lack of employment, and lack of land, rather than any desire to 'see the world' or visit big cities. Higher wage rates, employment opportunities and labour scarcity in receiving areas also attract people to migrate. The gender discrimination that is prevalent in education, health services and nutrition are also some of the reasons that women leave their villages. A large number of people also migrate within Nepal, to other towns or cities where there are more extensive work opportunities available.
Historically, it has been men who migrate while women have been left at home with an increased burden of work. Observing the increase in status and the positive benefits that come with migration, women have been motivated to increase their standard of living and improve their lives. However, women have also been increasingly pressed to migrate to escape poverty, discrimination and gender-based violence. Because female migration has always been publicly scrutinized and disapproved of because of traditional gender roles which prescribe women's place as in the home, women are often forced to take clandestine means to migrate, making women vulnerable to trafficking.
During the past few years, Nepal has been experiencing escalating political conflict arising from struggles between the Maoist party and the varying levels of government. This conflict has had a profound effect on all communities, particularly the rural communities where approximately 85 percent of the population resides, creating social, political and economic uncertainty, instability and insecurity. Although the conflict has arisen in the political sphere, it has had serious consequences for the economic and social situation of communities, and of the country as a whole. While migration has always been intertwined with the history of Nepal, the conflict situation has led to a drastic increase in migration and has altered the reasons for migration. Typically, individuals or families have migrated in search of a better life or a more secure means of livelihood. However, now individuals, families and communities are being displaced forcefully, because they fear for their own safety, or because their communities are no longer able to provide a sustainable means of income generation due to the rising instability.
Migration may have a positive effect on both sending and receiving countries, opening up new possibilities of social, cultural and economic benefits. Migrants who return to their communities often bring new skills and a new world outlook while remittances may contribute to the development of the country. However, migration may also have negative outcomes, such as when migrating persons end up being trafficked. As the trends of migration only continue to increase with the impacts of globalization and deeper economic interdependence, it is vital that governments, NGOs, communities and individuals work together to widen migration opportunities and ensure safe migration that ensures the human rights of all migrants.