Seoul to fix EPS quota in March

KATHMANDU: The Human Resource Department (HRD) of South Korea will allocate Employment Permit System (EPS) quota for 2009 in by mid-next month, said Yu Jae Soub, president of HRD-Korea addressing the Nepali media. Soub and his Nepali counterpart Mohan Krishna Sapakota, director general of Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE), signed a ‘Service Commitment Agreement of KLT-EPS’ to expedite EPS process, here today.

“HRD-Korea will allocate EPS quota for 2009 within two weeks,” he said. However, he warned not to expect more as the destination is facing unemployment problems. Unemployment in South Korea is above 10 per cent, the highest after the great South Asian recession of 1997. There

is a possibility of reduction in number of migrant workers

from the government’s side also, he elaborated.

EPS quota is calculated by analyzing demands in Small and Middle Scale (SMEs) industries and labour market status of source countries. The EPS process starts with Korean Language Test (KLT) followed by medical tests and registration in roster.

EPS-Nepal has given priority for employment of those workers who have listed in the roster in 2008. Around 2,500 Nepalis are in the roster and sending them to South Korea will be the top priority, said Minister for Labour and Transport Management (MoLTM) Mohammed Aftab Alam, addressing the gathering.

The progress of EPS agreement indicates that the next KLT exam will be held in the second half of 2010. “We are going to hold the KLT exam after finalizing action plans,” said director general Sapakota. He said the exam date would be after June. For the first time, HRD-Korea is subsidizing $4 per applicant in the language test fee. HRD-Korea had allocated 17,000 EPS aspirants’ quota for 15 source countries including Nepal in 2008. EPS Nepal got a quota of 2,500 workers last year. Around 5,000 Nepalis are believed to working in South Korea and 3,636 are EPS workers. The destination country is hiring Nepalis in manufacturing, agriculture and fisheries.

South Korea is a lucrative destination for Nepali migrant workers where the worker earn around $ 1000— five-fold more than Malaysia and Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Nepali workers of the destinations are contributing in Rs 2 billion in remittance.

EPS service started in Nepal from 2008 on the basis of the

bilateral agreement of July

23, 2007. The agreement has been renewed for two years — from 2010 to 2011. Minister Alam

inked the agreement in Seoul on January 10.