Over 5,000 workers from Nepal have been killed working in other countries since 2008 – at least 646 of them in Qatar.

Migrant labourers at a construction site at Aspire Zone in Doha, Qatar, March 26, 2016.
Migrant labourers at a construction site at Aspire Zone in Doha, Qatar, March 26, 2016.

The dream begins outside the compound of the foreign employment work permit office in Katmandu, Nepal. Many end up working construction sites in Gulf countries where the dream ends in untimely death related to poor working conditions.

The risk is worth it, Nepalese say, because they can make something like $400 a month working in Qatar, as opposed to $50 at home.

According to the government of Nepal, 646 Nepalese migrant workers died in Qatar in a five-year span. And that number is believed to be climbing as construction for the 2022 World Cup moves ahead.

Authorities in Nepal say their citizens seem to die abroad more frequently than their equally vulnerable Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi and Indonesian co-workers, but the explanation for the increased mortality has been unclear.

TRT World's Nick Davies-Jones brings the stories of workers who risk death to earn a decent living.

Accidental deaths?

The number of Nepali workers going abroad has more than doubled since the country began promoting foreign labour in recent years: from about 220,000 in 2008 to about 500,000 in 2015. The number of deaths among those workers has risen much faster in the same period.

In total, over 5,000 workers from this small country have died working abroad since 2008.

The causes, in many cases, have been mysterious. Natural death, heart attack or cardiac arrest are listed for nearly half the deaths. Most families are notified that their loved ones simply went to bed and never woke up.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies