Introduction: Migration can increase the risk for family breakdown and fragmentation of social networks which has direct impact on psychosocial well-being of both migrant workers and their families. The aim of this study was to assess the socio-cultural and psychosocial impact of migration among migrant workers and their families in Nepal.

Methods: The study was conducted in Makwanpur, Dhanusa, Kathmandu, and Sindhuli districts. A cross-sectional qualitative study method was used in the study. 120 people were selected purposively for both FGD and KII. Study participants included opting and returnee migrant workers, their family members, manpower agencies, medical practitioners, government and I/NGO representatives.

Results: The migrant workers were either Hindus or Buddhists residing in Muslim countries where they had to bear humiliations and discrimination, also were not provided with leave for celebrating festivals or performing post-funeral rituals. Migrant workers faced mental health and psychological distresses like guilt feelings, sadness, sleep disturbances, excess worries, restlessness, feeling of tension and apprehension, hopelessness, irritability, sense of vengeance,harmful alcohol use, psychosis, thoughts and attempts at self-harm. The family members were observed to have felt helpless and stressed about their relatives working abroad.

Discussion:Females were stigmatized more. Wives of migrant workers faced discrimination in the family and community and were backbitten and accused of being characterless in the absence of their husbands.

Conclusion: Despite being a good source of remittances, it is difficult to conclude whether the benefits of labor migration outweigh the socio-cultural and psychological impacts faced.Community sensitization on safe migration and adequate monitoring by concerned authorities are a must.

This study was conducted from March 2017 and published on May 2017. It was published by TPO Nepal and supported by USAID and The Asia Foundation.

Suggested Citation:

Koirala, P., Gautam, K., Regmi, U., Sharma, N., Koirala, S. (2017). Labor Migration: Psychological and Socio-Cultural Impacts. Kathmandu, Nepal; Transcultural Psychosocial Organization.

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