Pratik Adhikary: The Health Status of and Health Risks to Male Nepalese Migrants in the Middle East and Malaysia

Researcher: Pratik Adhikary

Aims of research:

Over a million Nepalese, mostly men, work in Malaysia and in the Middle East in semi-skilled and unskilled jobs. Migrant workers theory reveals that social networks and connections result in exchanges, obligations and shared identities that in turn provide potential support and access to resources for each individual.

The literature also suggests that factories and the construction industry are a dangerous business in any country and migrant workers are often at a disadvantaged position compared to local workers.

This would suggest that Nepalese migrant factory and construction workers face a double burden in the Middle East and Malaysia. Migrant’s theory and the literature have added support to this PhD research on Nepalese migrant workers.

The main aim of this research is to examine the general health status of and health risks to Nepalese male migrant workers.



This research has used a mixed-methods approach to collect and analyse data from questionnaires and in-depth interviews with male Nepalese migrant workers, upon their return to, or prior to their departure from, Nepal.

The quantitative questionnaire data estimates the health status of migrant workers and the level of risk to which they are exposed and the qualitative interviews with a sub-sample of the questionnaire population offers detailed insights into these issues.


403 men completed the questionnaire.

The preliminary findings show that nearly half of respondents (46%) were in the younger age group (20-29 years), without education or only primary education (71%).

Approximately, two thirds of respondents (62%) rated their health as ‘fair/poor/very poor’. Three quarters (73%) rated their work environment as ‘fair/poor/very poor’. The majority (62%) had national insurance. About 17% of       respondents had experienced a work-related accident.

The in-depth interviews also confirmed that Nepalese migrant workers experienced accidents at work, skin      problems, heart attacks, mental issues and even death. In general, employers did not value the health of migrant workers enough and due to work pressure many workers took risks.



Nepalese migrant workers working in the Middle East and Malaysia experienced communication problems and a variety of health risks including work-related accidents. Workers in Malaysia appear to have a less positive           experience than those in the Middle East. Since the majority had registered with a doctor and had health insurance we need to ensure that the remainder receive similar access.



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