After the Federation of Malaya became independent from the United Kingdom in August 1957, many Gurkhas became soldiers in the Malayan armed forces, especially in the Royal Ranger Regiment. Others became security guards, mainly in the urban areas. The number of Nepalese workers going to Malaysia has increased in the recent years due to the recovery from global recession and the removal of levy. Nepalese foreign employment agencies think that Malaysia might revise its decision to absorb labour from Nepal. As far as Malaysia is concerned, Nepal is the second largest labour supplying country after Indonesia. Most Nepalis work in small restaurants, hotels, factories and industries. Recently, the Malaysian government has decided to stop hiring Nepalese workers, reasoning that they want to give priority to their own increasing number of unemployed countrymen.
In Malaysia, Nepalese workers have formed 73 organisations related to political parties. Malaysia is also famous among the returnees as well because 30 percent working currently in Malaysia have re-visited there for work and 20 percent are those have gone to the country after coming back from Gulf countries. It is estimated that there are about 0.2 million foreign illegal workers in Malaysia with about 50,000 from Nepal alone. In March 2010, Malaysian authorities have arrested over 500 Nepalis working and staying illegally along with illegal workers from other countries from various factories and industries they were working.
Many Nepalese workers in Malaysia have been cheated by their Nepalese recruiters and some have been exploited by their Malaysian employers. Most of them were deceived by their recruiters in Kathmandu, who had promised hundreds of dollars a month in salary, benefits and easy work. After they arrived in Malaysia they earned less than half the amount stated in their contracts. The plight of Nepalese workers abroad is not new and many recruiters and employers in Malaysia continue to get away with exploitation because the workers have nowhere to turn. Ironically, it seems the Malaysian government is more concerned about the welfare of Nepalese workers than the Nepalese government.
Another concern is that the deaths of Nepalese workers in Malaysia have significantly increased with at least 81 aspirants having died within the first six months of 2010. According to the Nepalese embassy at Kuala Lumpur, road accidents, chronic disease, workplace and even suicide cases has been identified as the cause for deaths.