Out of cash, Nepali travellers seek help from banksAccording to the Foreign Employment Board, at least 127,000 Nepali migrant workers are expected to return home from the Gulf and Malaysia after international travel restrictions are lifted.
A number of Nepali travellers stranded abroad due to international travel restrictions, are now requesting commercial banks and the central bank to help receive foreign currency from Nepal to survive abroad.
Although the central bank on April 1, allowed parents of students studying in foreign countries to send up to $500 per person once to meet their living cost, the central bank has not yet decided on travellers stranded abroad.
“We have received 2-3 emails requesting arrangements for foreign exchange as the senders said they have run out of cash they took on their trip,” said Guru Prasad Poudel, director at the foreign exchange management department at the Nepal Rastra Bank.
“We have told them to come to us through the Nepali embassy,” he said. According to Poudel, a few banks have also requested the central bank to enable them to send money to clients who have been stranded abroad. Nabil Bank, NMB Bank and Prabhu Bank are among the banks that have approached NRB with the matter so far.
NMB Bank’s CEO Sunil KC said that one of his clients sought help from the bank after he ran out of balance on his card. “But, that customer didn’t approach us again,” he said.
According to KC if the central bank allows, the bank can electronically add balance to cards they issued.
As per the central bank’s directive, a person can get up $1,500 against a passport to travel abroad. Usually, travellers apply for the exchange before they depart.
The government does not have data on how many Nepalis who had travelled abroad, are now stranded without cash.
Besides them, a large number of Nepali students studying abroad and Nepali migrant workers want to come home, but can’t as Nepal has suspended international flights and closed its borders in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Many Nepalis, especially migrant labourers, have lost their jobs and are living on relief materials provided by governments and charities. Nepalis in many Middle Eastern countries, South Korea, Turkey and India have been pleading with the government to be brought back home.
According to the Foreign Employment Board, at least 127,000 Nepali migrant workers are expected to return home from the Gulf and Malaysia after international travel restrictions are lifted.