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The World Cup Is Ending, however the Migrant Labor Economy Grinds On


KATHMANDU, Nepal — Because the World Cup involves an in depth, what’s going to occur to the employees who helped Qatar make it possible?

The small nation of Nepal has sent more employees to Qatar per capita than another country.

In the autumn of 2022, The Recent York Times spoke to just about three dozen Nepalis — current and former construction employees in Qatar and members of their families — to learn what their lives are like now and what’s next for them. Most had worked on construction projects related to the World Cup, including stadiums and other infrastructure that supported Qatar’s development boom.

After enduring at times exploitative or dangerous conditions, many employees said they remained stuck in poverty and debt, with no alternative but to proceed to work abroad, regardless of the risks.

“Working out of the country shouldn’t be a alternative,” said one employee, Ganga Bahadur Sunuwar. “We’re compelled to do it.” Mr. Sunuwar, 44, is now back home in Kathmandu after years of working in a steel factory in Qatar, where doctors say he developed severe occupational asthma.

Mr. Sunuwar knows that working abroad — which might mean taking over more debt to secure a job after which having limited say over his working conditions — may very well be a risk to his health. But despite these concerns, he’s seriously considering it.

Times reporters witnessed a near day by day scene at Nepal’s principal international airport in Kathmandu: the arrival of coffins, primarily from the Gulf and Malaysia, carrying the bodies of migrant employees. Since 2010, when the World Cup was awarded to Qatar, 2,100 Nepalis have died there of all causes, in line with Nepal’s Labor Ministry.

An estimated 2,000 migrant employees proceed to depart from the identical airport day-after-day. Despite the grueling working conditions, like extreme heat within the Gulf, many feel they haven’t any alternative to foreign employment. Because of this, young men are absent from many homes, and families spend years apart. A couple of quarter of the country’s gross domestic product is earned abroad, one among the best percentages of any country.

Nicole Salazar and Sarah Kerr reported from Kathmandu and Doha, Qatar, and Pramod Acharya from Kathmandu.

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