KATHMANDU, Dec 8: Young people willing to go to Korea for foreign employment are demanding that the quota for 2024 be opened in 2024 instead of now. To get this demand of theirs addressed, they initiated a protest on Tuesday, which lasted for four days, concluding on Friday.
They began their protest in front of the Employment Permit System (EPS) office, stating that the quota for the year 2024 was prematurely opened in 2023 for a shipbuilding company.
"Why was the quota for 2024 opened in 2023?" questioned one of the protesting youths. According to EPS rules, more than 28,000 youth who failed the exam are not allowed to retake it. The protesters are seeking answers from the government, calling the situation unjust.
Under EPS, Korea has invited applications for the manufacturing sector, receiving about 15,848 submissions. A protester mentioned, "HRD Korea has sent demands for the year 2024 to all 16 countries. Nepal is the only country that merged the quota of 2024 with that of 2023 and opened the application. How did this happen? We demand answers from the government. This is simply wrong. This is injustice."
The protesters insist that EPS should not have opened the application as late as December 18 of this year. With January 2024 only twelve days away, they find the early application opening mysterious. Despite studying for an extended period, they express frustration at not being allowed to take the exam for employment in Korea.
After setting the criteria, 28,409 people who failed the skill-building exam will not be allowed to reapply. They express concern and anger for being unable to apply for the manufacturing sector, urging attention from EPS Korea Branch Office and HRD Korea.
The application period, as per the demand, has been fixed from December 18 to December 22, with specific criteria. Those who previously applied for the ship-building sector and failed will not be eligible for the manufacturing sector application, having already taken the skill-building exam.
During the protest, young people studying the Korean language for many years and preparing for 2024 were informed that they could not take the exam in the quota published in 2023, leading to their frustration. Their major complaint stems from failing the 2023 exam despite scoring 37 points.
Protesting youth Bibek Basnet remarked, "Now, even if you get 30 points in the productive sector, you will pass."
"After taking the shipbuilding exam and scoring well, with a total of 37 marks, I could not make it through. It shows that I cannot apply for the open notification. What we have spent years studying has gone to waste. Our future is shattered. This has been a gross injustice," said the protesting youth.
One of the victims expressed their singular demand, stating, "We want those who failed the shipbuilding exam to be allowed to apply for the manufacturing sector."
The EPS Korea branch published the notice on December 5. Point number 5 of the notice mentions that no application can be made for the EPS-topik examination within the year 2023. Ratna Magarati, a participant in the protest, said that due to this point, they were deprived of applying for the productive sector. The victims are demanding the removal of point number 5 from the notice issued by the EPS Korea branch.
The protestors insist that the Nepali government should engage in serious discussions with Korea, asserting that this issue is discriminatory against them. They have warned that they will continue to protest if the point is not removed. Expressing their objection, they highlight that their dreams of going to Korea have been shattered. Alongside the removal of that point, they have demanded that the quota for 'Manufacturing' allocated by Korea for the year 2024 be opened in 2024 through EPS.
They are protesting in front of the EPS office, demanding that their concerns be addressed.
Gurudatta Subedi, the Director of the EPS Korea branch, stated that the demand for allowing youth to retake the exam has been taken positively. "The demand that everyone should be able to take the exam is not illegitimate. However, we are not in a position to confirm that this is the case. We are taking the issue seriously, and discussions are ongoing between the relevant agencies," he said.