International labour migration is a main livelihood strategy for many people in Nepal. This article analyses the migration process from the perspective of migrants and their non-migrating household members, exploring the institutional regulations that structure the organization of migration and the cash flows involved.
The results are based on a case study conducted in Sainik Basti, Western Nepal, in 2002. The article shows that for different destinations there are specific ways of organizing migration. These country-specific ways of organizing migration demand specific assets from prospective migrants and their household members and therefore influence their choice of destination. Savings are remitted back home mainly by carrying them personally or by using the hundi system. In spite of the risks and difficulties involved, international labour migration often contributes to sustainable
livelihoods. The main outcomes of migration are increased
financial capital, education of the children, migrationspecific knowledge, and increased social capital. This enlarged asset endowment lowers both investment costs and risks involved in migration, and thereby increases its potential net return. Each act of migration therefore facilitates and stimulates subsequentmigration.