The Nepal Population Census includes questions on foreign-born citizens and persons with foreign citizenship living in Nepal. Among the foreign-born population, 81 per cent have already taken Nepalese citizenship (KC 2008). Data on foreign citizens in the 2001 population census was disaggregated by sex and age-cohorts. It showed that only 0.5 per cent of the population, or 116,571 people, had foreign citizenship, of which 57 per cent of them were men. The majority of the foreign citizens (88 per cent) were from India. Other countries where a significant number of foreign citizens came from were Bhutan (3 per cent), Pakistan (2 per cent), and China (1 per cent) (Nepal Central Bureau of Statistics 2001).

In the 2001 census, almost half (46 per cent) of the foreign-born population indicated marriage as the reason for residing in Nepal. Other cited reasons were to conduct business (8.4 per cent), provide services (6.1 per cent), agricultural work (4.8 per cent) and to study (4.5 per cent) (KC 2008).

Since 1990, a large number of ethnic Nepalis living in Bhutan, have sought asylum in eastern Nepal. At present, there are about 110,000 refugees in seven camps in Jhapa and Morang districts of Nepal. More than 40,000 people were deported for resettlement. In addition, around 72,000 remaining refugees are waiting for resettlement (IOM 2010).