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Migrant Workers’ Psychosocial Wellbeing: The Case of Nepalese Construction Workers in Qatar


By Tripur Manandhar and Marc Van der Putten


This study explored the impact of migrant work on psychosocial well - being among Nepalese migrant workers in Qatar, perceived precursors, and relevant policies. Exploitation of migrant workers is an extensive problem around the world. Qatar employs a high proportion of migrants, and increasingly the media has reported abuse of migrant workers. This study focuses on Nepali migrant workers in Qatar because Nepal is the second highest labor exporter to Qatar, with increasing levels of labor migration, and the media continues to highlight appalling working conditions and violations of the rights of laborers which plausibly have a negative effect on their psychosocial well - being. A case study design combining documentary research and in - depth interviews was used to facilitate an investigation to place perceptions of Nepalese migrant workers in Qatar on migrant work conditions, and their impact on psychosocial well - being in the context of migrants.The study aimed to provide a benchmark to complement anecdotal information. Key findings revealed that the Nepalese migrant workers experienced various psychosocial challenges such as deterioration of intimate relationships, constant fear of arrests, increased stress and anxiety, occasional food insecurity and substance abuse. Findings indicate that problems are rooted in the pre - departure stage of migration and are intensified by a lack of enforcement of existing policy and laws. The study concluded that Nepalese migrant workers in Qatar are vulnerable pre - departure due to lack of awareness on rights, abuses by brokers, dysfunctional government services, and failing policy and law enforcement; during the migration period due to the kafala system in Qatar and abuses by employers; and post migration due to broken marriages and debts.