An unprecedented level of labor mobility has emerged as a result of the present wave of globalization, not just between wealthy and developing nations but also inside emerging nations. Immigrants are making up an increasing percentage of the population in several developing nations in the Middle East and Asia as worldwide migration has continuously climbed from 77 million in 1960 to 281 million in 2020. There is little question that labor mobility has a macroeconomic influence on both sending and receiving nations via employment, productivity, and remittances. Even greater transformative effects were seen at the micro level, particularly in the sending nations. The pre-capitalist structure and ideals of family, self-help, and elder care are currently disintegrating more and more as younger generations abandon their loved ones.
Nepal actively participates in this global mobility nexus, producing close to 30 percent of its GDP in remittances from millions of its inhabitants living overseas. This classic case’s newly acquired experience may be used to better comprehend the nature of the societal shifts taking place in today’s migrant-sending nations in Asia, Africa, and many other emerging nations.
There are two types of labor mobility: permanent movements and transitory ones. Since even brief travels for education, exchange, seasonal work, or asylum seeking may lead to family reunification, longer stays, and citizenship, the majority of traditional forms of migration, particularly to the West, have been permanent. However, some of the newly developing settings of labor migration throughout the Middle East and Asia have been for temporary employment, in which migrant workers have little opportunity to engage with the greater community and prolong their stays over a predetermined period.
For sending nations as well, it is important to recognize the difference between temporary and permanent migrations. For instance, the majority of temporary migrants are often unskilled, low-educated laborers from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds. The main effects of this group’s movement are improvements in living standards, greater educational opportunities for children, and migration to urban areas in the case of rural families, with very minor and transient effects on career choices and family care systems.
The permanent migrants, on the other hand, come from better socioeconomic origins and are more educated and talented. Since their relocations are permanent, close family members are also permitted to follow, giving up their involvement in the regional social and economic institutions. Under normal circumstances, the willingness of others to step up by taking over their enterprises, farms, and real estate and shouldering their financial and social obligations helps fill the vacuum left by their absence. Local communities continue to be weaker as a result of the existence of a population that is less educated, less dynamic, and mostly older, who are left to fend for themselves since circumstances are anything from normal, particularly in rural regions where there is significant outmigration happening throughout the whole nation.Despite certain technical advancements, the outcome has been a decline in agricultural production, forcing the nation as a whole to import even the most fundamental food items like rice and wheat, on which there has traditionally been some degree of relative self-sufficiency.
Without a doubt, this revolution is not separate from the larger economic and social changes embracing the contemporary way of life that prioritizes nuclear families, accessibility to high-quality healthcare and education, as well as all other contemporary conveniences and cutting-edge technology. For instance, the shift to nuclear households has significantly altered expectations for senior care since the traditional model of living with and taking care of unwell parents is being abandoned.
The situation and anguish of elderly parents who have been abandoned by their children who live overseas is often covered in the news and on social media. Parents also express no desire to live in a foreign country towards the end of their long and arduous lives, in a manner similar to how children who live abroad are unable to permanently welcome their sick parents owing, in particular, to very expensive healthcare expenditures. There are far too many instances of elderly people with physical disabilities being left alone on the upper floors of otherwise leased houses and being helped by certain merchants and carers. According to recent study, older parents whose children travel abroad tend to have more severe cases of sadness, anxiety, and other mental health problems than those whose children remain at home or merely move inside their own country. Given the traditional family norms, physical and mental difficulties add to parents’ feelings of unease when nobody is accessible for anything from minor requirements to urgent situations. Many people who enroll in institutional living at astronomical expenses have also been conned by businesses that solely have their customers’ best interests at heart. Rural residents rely on their capacity to continue living where they “belong,” yet their lives are even more vulnerable due to a lack of institutional and social support in the middle of a declining non-elderly population.
A broad variety of social shifts are taking place in Nepali society, one example of which is the effect of labor mobility on the elderly who have spent their whole lives working to improve education and prospects for their children. Admittedly, labor mobility is just a small part of the larger shifts taking place internationally, with capital mobility and quickening technical development both having a significant impact on how society is being shaped in ways that were previously unimaginable. The way people live, work, relate to and communicate with each other, form and support families, move around, and engage in social and communal activities and institutions all have cumulative effects on the economic, cultural, and social realities in Nepal and other developing nations. The attempt to engage in the market system, which disregards human history, country borders, and distinctive identities and value systems, is at the core of this social revolution.
The absence of institutional housing, nursing homes, and other forms of specialized care has prompted the continued outmigration to underline the abandoning of the traditional family values of belonging, self-help, and communal welfare with regard to the effects on the older population more particularly.The government’s incapacity to direct the economy through empowering economic players and generating possibilities from within has contributed to this problem in part. Without a doubt, the government-instituted senior allowance for people without access to state pensions has proven to be a lifeline for many. However, the government has failed to control the rapid social revolution by creating institutions and regulations that defend the poor and defenseless.
What steps may be taken to solve this expanding issue? A thorough gerontology research is urgently required to comprehend the needs, difficulties, and experiences of the aged population. By establishing a publicly funded system of home and institutional care, particularly via the nonprofit sector, the government may create laws and programs to assist and protect the most vulnerable people at the least. Expanding training, education, and awareness programs on the physical and mental health of the elderly population can professionalize the profession and industry for effective, efficient, and equitable services as well as contribute to the improvement of the health and well-being of the elderly population, who are currently being abandoned more and more.