Padmashree College
The British College

Migration of Nepali Nurses to Foreign Countries: An Emerging Trend

Career 02 Jun 2024 142 0


Migration of Nepali Nurses to Foreign Countries: An Emerging Trend

Increasing Migration of Nepali Nurses

Human resources in Nepal, particularly those who have studied nursing, are increasingly migrating abroad due to the lack of opportunities within their own country. This trend is driven by the need to find better working conditions and remuneration, which are often unavailable in Nepal.

Preferred Destinations for Nepali Nurses

Initially, developed countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, and the UK were the primary attractions for Nepali nurses. However, there has been a recent shift towards Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Qatar, and Kuwait. Treasurer of the Nepal Nursing Council, noted this trend, emphasizing that nurses are drawn to these countries due to the better income prospects with minimal expenses.

Consequences of Migration on the Domestic Healthcare Sector

Shrestha expressed concern that if this migration trend continues, Nepal might face a shortage of nurses. Nurses are compelled to seek opportunities abroad due to the lack of well-paying jobs in Nepal.

Case Study: Financial Benefits of Working Abroad

A nurse from Biratnagar recently moved to Saudi Arabia. She reported earning Rs. 125,000 per month, with accommodation and food provided by her employer, allowing her to save most of her income. In contrast, she struggled to meet expenses while working as a school nurse in Nepal.

Verification Process and Statistics

As of March 2023, 40,539 nurses in Nepal have obtained 'verification letters' from the Nepal Nursing Council to work abroad. The Nursing Council's Chairman highlighted that many more nurses are expected to seek opportunities abroad in 2023. Currently, there are 82,471 registered nurses in Nepal, and more than 40,000 have sought verification for international employment.

The top destinations for these nurses include:

  • United States: 23,370 verification letters
  • Australia: 11,289 verification letters
  • Dubai: 2,804 verification letters
  • United Kingdom: 685 verification letters

Unverified Migration

A significant number of nurses migrate without verification from the council. For instance, none of the 800 nurses in Saudi Arabia had received verification. This raises concerns about the impact on Nepal's healthcare system.

Saudi Arabia: A Preferred Destination

Saudi Arabia is particularly attractive to Nepali nurses due to the excellent working conditions, free travel, and the provision of food and accommodation. These nurses often migrate through manpower companies. The initial salary for nurses in Saudi Arabia is around Rs. 200,000, with those holding a PCL and one year of experience earning between Rs. 120,000 to Rs. 160,000.


The migration of Nepali nurses to foreign countries is a growing trend driven by better financial opportunities and working conditions. However, this has significant implications for Nepal's healthcare sector, which may face a shortage of skilled nurses if the trend continues. Addressing this issue requires improving job opportunities and working conditions within Nepal to retain its nursing workforce.