Quarantine cost increases expenses of Nepali laborers going to Korea

Published On: December 11, 2021 01:35 PM NPT By: RUDRA KHADKA

KATHMANDU, Dec 11: Workers going to Korea for employment under the Nepal-Korea government agreement have to bear the cost of hotel quarantine by themselves.

Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) on Thursday directed banks and financial institutions to provide an exchange facility of USD 1,500 to workers going to Korea as the workers have to bear the entire hotel quarantine expenses by themselves, while workers going to other destination countries get an exchange facility of only USD 200 per person.

A letter from the Department of Foreign Employment stated that additional arrangements needed to be made for quarantine expenses due to COVID-19. Accordingly, the NRB has directed financial institutions to provide exchange facilities through electronic cards up to USD 1500.

NRB had been cutting foreign exchange expenditure recently due to depletion of foreign exchange reserves. However, it is said that the workers going to Korea have been given some leeway as it is urgent for them to go there to start their work.

Korean employment is considered attractive from the point of view of settlement and remuneration. There have been calls from around the world for workers not to pay any fees recently, while those going to Korea are also demanding the same. At present, going to Korea costs around Rs 80,000. The government has decided to provide free visas and tickets for Gulf countries and Malaysia.

People who pass the Korean language test under the Employment Permit System (EPS) have been going to Korea for employment since 2007. The number of workers going to Korea has reached about 60,000 every year since then and about 30,000 of them are said to be in Korea.

With a monthly salary of at least Rs 150,000, a large number of young people are flocking to Korea for employment by competing in the quota set by the Korean government. In the EPS test conducted in 2019, more than 80,000 youths competed while about 8,000 passed the test.

Korea is one of the nine countries with whom Nepal has signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Bilateral Labor Agreement (BLA) due to which it is considered one of the safest countries for Nepali laborers. Nepali nationals who go to Korea for employment as per the labor agreement have not complained much about being cheated.

According to a returnee from Korea, Nepali workers are not exploited by Korean employers as labor issues can be internationalized due to the labor agreement between the two countries.

The EPS test has not been conducted since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security, the EPS test scheduled for 2020 has not yet taken place.


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