Safer Migration (SaMI III) project

Labour migration is positively affecting Nepal’s socio-economic development with remittances significantly reducing poverty. Nevertheless, the rights of migrants are often violated. The Safer Migration project will empower migrants and their families and strengthen government protection mechanisms. The project will benefit about 600’000 men and women in three states of Nepal and enable about 60 local governments to run foreign employment services.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Vocational training
Labour migration
Vocational training
16.07.2018 - 15.07.2024
CHF  21’631’000
Background Federalization: Nepal is in the process of transforming a unitary state into a federal system with 753 local, 7 state and one federal government. Local governments have to now assume foreign employment functions and need a lot of support for this. Foreign employment has significantly reduced poverty over the past 10 years: Remittances equal 30% of the GDP; thanks to this income from abroad most MDGs were achieved as families had the money to buy food, education and health care. In spite of the positive contributions, migration remains risky and workers’ rights are regularly violated: they often face severe exploitation at the hands of foreign employers but also of Nepali recruitment intermediaries and other stakeholders in Nepal. The governments at all levels must further improve mechanisms to manage migration and better protect the rights of migrants and their families.
Objectives Migrants and their families (women/men/discriminated groups) are better protected by democratic institutions in Nepal and benefit from decent work conditions abroad.
Target groups

Men and women migrant workers;

Families of migrant workers, particularly wives who often face stigma, as they are not under male guardianship;

Special focus will be provided to discriminated groups who find it  more difficult to benefit from migration (high pre-departure costs; lower salaries).

Medium-term outcomes

Men and women migrants and their families, including from discriminated groups, have increased the benefits and mitigated the social implications of migration

Federal and sub-national governments use effective mechanisms for the protection of migrants.


Expected results:  

  • Migrants access information on how to migrate safely
  • Victims of fraud and exploitation access legal services
  • Migrants and their families in distress use social services
  • Migrants acquire skills recognized by employers abroad
  • Migrant rights advocates have evidence for policy dialogue
  • Ministry of Labour and Employment is strengthened to ensure safe and orderly migration
  • Department of Foreign Employment’s data management system is expanded and functional
  • Foreign Employment Promotion Board has developed a National Resource Center for foreign employment services at local level and a skills training mechanism

Results from previous phases:   The external evaluation described SaMI II (2011-2018; 7F-07207.02) as a cutting edge project with a convincing theory of change and relevant components. Major achievements: half a million persons were reached with information about safer migration practices in high outmigration districts; legal aid secured CHF 4.75 million in redress payments for workers who filed complaints; almost 8’000 migrants received skills trainings that allowed them to earn up to 25% higher wages; an online data management for labour permits has made GoN services more efficient and transparent.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
Private sector
Foreign state institution
Swiss Non-profit Organisation
  • HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation
  • Foreign private sector North
  • Foreign private sector South/East
  • Sub-National State SouthEast

Coordination with other projects and actors

SDC funded projects: strong linkage and synergies with initiatives for capacity building of sub-national governments; agriculture projects offer migrant families opportunities for remittances investment (NAMDP); skills projects offer migrants entrepreneurship trainings (ENSSURE) and cross-border recognition of skills (NVQS).

Other Development Partners: Synergies with DFID’s skilling of migrant project (presently being tendered) and the Work in Freedom project for the rights of women migrants; IFAD provides advisory services for remittance investment in the states where SaMI works. Collaboration with ILO’s Fair project, funded by the Global Programme Migration and Development (GPMD); a project with ILO to support the GoN’s engagement in international policy dialogue and strengthening diplomatic missions is being planned. IOM works with GPMD funds to support Nepal’s chair of the Colombo Process.

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    21’631’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    12’760’514
Project phases Phase 1 16.07.2018 - 15.07.2024   (Current phase)