The migration of Nepali workers to India for labour is a long-standing tradition and a common pattern of life in the region. As poverty and unemployment have been the main causes of migration, migration for work has helped maintain a standard of living particularly for low-skilled and low-income migrants. However, the COVID-19 pandemic made visible a policy vacuum relating to the connections between the mobility of labour migrants, economic resilience and public health. In the absence of effective policy, returnees have posed challenges for the Nepali state and posed risks for individual workers, households and the communities more broadly as a result of a lack of adequate support and planning. This paper reviews what we know about the return of Nepali labour migrants during the COVID-19 pandemic and highlights the impacts this policy vacuum has had on public health consequences within the established social structure of Nepal.