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      In Between Escapade and Peril : The Impact of COVID-19 on Nepali Returnees and Their Families



            The outbreak of COVID-19 has damaged the world economy, resulting in the termination of thousands of jobs which affects migrants and their families who have both economic and other investments in migration. This article explores the experiences and challenges of Nepali migrant workers who returned from Malaysia and their wives who were left behind when they originally migrated. We discuss the aspirations of returnee workers, their life and experiences in Malaysia during the pandemic and their experiences of tackling the bureaucratic challenges of the return process in Malaysia and Nepal. We find that any problems in migration also affects those family members who are left behind and discuss the experiences of husbands affect migrants’ wives, including their understanding of the foreign employment situation of the husbands and their involvement in different decisions related to foreign employment and the return of their husbands. The study follows a qualitative methodology. Phone interviews were conducted with ten returnee migrants from Malaysia and ten as well as three informants who have knowledge and experience of the sector. The article argues that both migrants and their family members face the consequences of any failures and challenges in migration and that policies should encourage joint discussion among governments of source and host countries on coping with the challenges of migration including in the context of a global pandemic.


            Author and article information

            Zanj: The Journal of Critical Global South Studies
            14 June 2022
            : 5
            : 1/2
            : 148-163
            [1 ] Nepal Institute for Social and Environmental Research (NISER)

            Published under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International ( CC BY 4.0). Users are allowed to share (copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format) and adapt (remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially), as long as the authors and the publisher are explicitly identified and properly acknowledged as the original source.


            Data sharing not applicable to this article as no datasets were generated or analysed during the current study.
            Economic development,Political science,Labor & Demographic economics,General social science,Development studies,Cultural studies
            Global South,migration,cultural studies,development studies ,economic development,migrant labour,Covid-19,pandemic,Nepal ,Malaysia


            1. Ojha Krishna Prasad. Remittance Status and Contribution to GDP of Nepal. NCC Journal. Vol. 4(1):101–112. 2019. Nepal Journals Online (JOL). [Cross Ref]


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