Brief of Activities in Nepal in 2020

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The International Organization for Migration (IOM) - a related organization of the United Nations - is the leading intergovernmental organization in the field of migration. It works to meet the growing operational challenges of migration, advances the understanding of migration issues, encourages social and economic development through migration and works to uphold the well-being and human rights of migrants.

Upon signing the Cooperation Agreement with the Government of Nepal in 2007, IOM started its operations in Nepal by facilitating the resettlement of Bhutanese refugees to receiving countries. Since then, IOM has expanded significantly both in terms of programme areas and target populations and has contributed to the government of Nepal’s efforts to manage migration more effectively through a wide range of programmes aligned to IOM’s Migration Governance Framework (MiGOF), Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Global Compact for Migration (GCM).

IOM’s focus areas include migrant protection, migration and development, labour migration, disaster preparedness and response, migration health, environment and climate change-induced migration.


The pandemic halted Nepal’s foreign employment dominated migration, many losing jobs in destination countries including India, exacerbating the challenges faced by already vulnerable migrants and their families. Owing to the pandemic, total of 228,829 Nepalese have returned home via air as of 18 January 2021 (CCMC, Nepal) and estimated 700,000 have returned from India (IOM, August 2020).

There is an urgent need to set up a comprehensive gender-responsive sustainable socio-economic plan to reintegrate returnee migrants in the national labour market – creating job opportunities, matching skills and interest of returnees to match the needs of the national economy.

IOM works on all the identified priority areas, including coordination and planning, risk communication and community engagement, disease surveillance, interventions at Points of Entry (PoEs), case management, infection prevention and control, mobility tracking and socio-economic assistance, migration health, emergency preparedness and response. As part of IOM’s global contribution to the UN’s First Line of Defense against COVID-19, IOM’s Migration Health Assessment Center (MHAC) in Kathmandu is designated as UN Clinic and has started providing health services, including testing for COVID-19 for UN personnel and dependents.