SKorea reopens EPS sector

KATHMANDU: South Korea reopened its manufacturing sector for migrant labourers from August 1, the Employment Permit System (EPS) office said.

EPS, a government body which hires foreign workers for South Korean industries, had stopped hiring Nepalis workers in manufacturing industries since June.

EPS system started on July 22, 2007 on the basis of a bilateral agreement between Nepal and South Korea.

Around 2,850 Nepalis are working in South Korean industries — manufacturing, agriculture and fisheries — since August 2008. Nepali migrant workers working in South Korea are contributing Rs 2 billion annually in remittance.

“The Human Resource Department (HRD) of South Korea reopened the manufacturing sector a month earlier,” the EPS Nepal website read. Earlier on June 10, HRD South Korea had notified stopping EPS process for the manufacturing sector till August 30.

Nepal and South Korea are struggling to renew the agreement which expired on July 22, 2009. On July 13, the government had decided to send Minister for Labour and Transport Management Mohamed Aftab Alam to South Korea for renewing the agreement but the date is not fixed yet.

South Korea is a lucrative destination for Nepali migrant workers where EPS workers are getting monthly salary of $970 to $1,000 — five times more than in Gulf countries and Malaysia. Around 1,91,592 foreign nationals including Nepalis are working in South Korea under EPS.

Despite recession, South Korea has been hiring Nepali job-seekers under the 2008 quota. Around 38 Nepalis left for South Korea on Monday whereas 23 Nepalis — 18 men and five women — will go there on August 10. According to EPS Nepal, those 23 workers will work in 16 different companies of Seoul and other cities.

The break-up

Top EPS countries Workers

Vietnam 50,869

Thailand 31,170

The Philippines 30,328

Indonesia 23,574

Mongolia 18,267