Seasonal Labour Migration from a Rural Nepalese Village


Dilip Kumar Jha and John Walsh, “Seasonal Labour Migration from a Rural Nepalese Village,” International Journal of Migration and Residential Mobility,” forthcoming article:

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to explore the nature and extent of seasonal labour migration among a sample of villagers in Janakpur province of Nepal. Personal interviewing was combined with ethnographic observation with content analysis of the database of findings subsequently conducted. The system of migration is persistent rather than stable; work is available in natural resource extraction or processing facilities and urban environments. The former is easier to plan for than the latter, which can be risky and some migrants are unable to support themselves. The research is limited in both space and time and, owing to the lack of knowledge about the working practices of people in this area, can be considered to be exploratory in nature Better networking and information provision would help migrants find regular jobs and to avoid wasting time and money. The system as it currently exists does little if anything to improve the lives of the migrants and their families overall other than to try to meet sudden unexpected expenses. Otherwise, it seems to provide very little benefit to any stakeholder. Few studies exist that help to indicate how rural Nepal is becoming linked with international markets and what the impacts of such links might be. It is shown that, under current circumstances, few benefits are yet flowing to the Nepalese village studied.
Keywords: migration; Nepal; India; seasonal work; rural



The Rising Importance of Chinese Labour in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region


I have received an invitation to include my paper “The Rising Importance of Chinese Labour in the
Greater Mekong Sub-Region,” first published at Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus in one of the new course readers (, which I am very happy to accept. Here is how it begins:

Migration is, fundamentally, a response to the uneven distribution of resources around the world or the variability of the environment, however broadly defined. [1] People move from one place to another place to take advantage of a better climate, possible access to better quality agricultural land, better-paying or more numerous jobs, freedom from oppression or discrimination and so forth. The phenomenon has dimensions such as degree of permanency and degree of voluntarism. In reality, it comprises a large number of categories and sub-categories and, as in the case of many of those Chinese people considered in this paper, people can pass through several categories as the result of changes in their own status and in that of the broader political context.

(The rest is here:


Seasonal Labour Migration from a Rural Nepalese Village


This paper, by Dilip Kumar Jha and myself, has been accepted for presentation at the forthcoming ICGBE Conference to be held in Bangkok in June.


This paper investigates seasonal migration of villagers in poor, rural households in VDC-Dekaha, Mahottari in Nepal. Seasonal migration for work is often their principal source of income and so moving to India to work in agricultural activities in rural areas or factory work in large cities is a widespread and almost compulsory phenomenon. The length of time that they can stay and the income that they can earn is not known in advance and the workers must find whatever work is available after they arrive in their location. The migrants are males over the age of 14, while women generally remain in the village to provide domestic and emotional labour. This paper reports on research conducted by direct observation of a rural Nepalese household as part of a larger research project involving mitigation of poverty in the country. Interim findings aree presented and some implications drawn for future investigation.

Keywords: migration, Nepal, poverty, rural households

Dilip Kumar Jha and John Walsh, Shinawatra University

Gender and Migration

Migration is a response to the uneven development of the world – that is, the  fact that different kinds of opportunities are available in different places.  Both push and pull factors act so as to encourage people to move to different  places in order to try to take advantage of the different opportunities  available.

Read the full article here.

Why Do People Migrate?

Migration means the movement of people from one place to another: sometimes the  migration involves crossing an international border and sometimes it takes place  within a single country. Sometimes the migration is voluntary and sometimes it  is involuntary. Involuntary migration is usually an example of human  trafficking, which is related to slavery, although it can also happen when the  borders themselves change.

Read the full article here.

Migration in the Para-State Regions of the Mekong Region: Between the National and International Realms

I’m due (floods permitting) to fly to Singapore tomorrow to present:

Walsh, John, “Migration in the Para-State Regions of the Mekong Region: Between the National and International Realms,” paper to be presented at the workshop Crossing Borders, Traversing Boundaries: Bridging the Gap between International and Internal Migration Research and Theory (Asia Research Institute, NUS, Singapore: October 13th-14th, 2011).


As Chinese investment in the Mekong Region (Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand) has increased, some of the geographical space occupied by new projects has come to be considered, more or less officially, to have become delinked from the rest of the sovereign territory of the state. The first example of this was the Maoist strategy of certain ethnic minority groups in Myanmar who have created what are effectively parallel states within the official state, together with the paraphernalia of rival state governance. The second example involves cash economy semi-legal operations such as the Poipet casino on the Thai-Cambodian border, in which a form of cowboy capitalism is operated by extra-judicial individuals and groups. The third example is the occupation of land in northern Laos and around Mandalay in northern Myanmar, where the density of international operations means the major players in this sector become empowered to make state-level decisions when the official state lacks the capacity or willingness to intervene or to uphold the rule of law. These para-state areas offer a conjunction between national and international migration as workers are drawn to the emergent industrial and service sector activities within them and contend with an absence as much as a multiplicity of labour protection regulations and regimes. Influential local leaders and organizations tend to shape the conditions of work and the means of hiring and dismissing workers with little regard to external norms. This paper examines through the use of thick description of existing events and observations the ways in which new and mostly porous borders have been created in addition to official state borders and the implications these have for the migration patterns and aspirations of workers. This provides a link between the national and the international realms of migration.

The full text should be on line after the conference begins. If anyone is really desperate to see the paper before that, then kindly let me know and I will see what I can do.