South Korea EPS to be renewed by July last week

KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Labour and Transport Management (MoLTM) invoked the renewal of the labour sending pact — Employment Permit System (EPS) — with South Korea before June 22 this year, and it has now started diplomatic efforts to enhance labour ties with Israel and address issues related to Nepali migrant workers there.

Meanwhile, Minister for Labour and Transport Management Mohammad Aftab Alam is going to South Korea for the renewal of EPS before July 22, said Purna Chandra Bhattarai, joint secretary at the ministry. “We have forwarded the file to the Foreign Ministry,” he said.

Meanwhile, MoLTM is planning to send a minister level delegation to Israel to solve the labour related problems — service fees of outsourcing agencies, Hebrew language skill and professional training — underlined by the Israeli government. “The Foreign Ministry is working on it,” said Bhattarai. A team of five government officials, five representatives from the foreign employment sector and one each from remittance, health examination and orientation training is expected to visit Israel soon.

After minister Alam assumed office, the ministry has set EPS, Japan International Training Cooperation Organization (JITCO) and Israel as priority programmes for the fiscal year 2009-10. The EPS agreement, signed on July 23, 2007 will end on July 22 this year whereas Israel has banned recruiting Nepali workers since April 23 when over 1,000 Nepalis there were found working illegally. The JITCO recruitment process is expected to start by the end of 2009. MoLTM forwarded details of 170 JITCO outsourcers last week to JITCO Japan office to intensify the process. JITCO provides one year’s training and two years’ internship to industrial workers of developing countries in Japanese industries.

South Korea and Israel are lucrative destinations for Nepali migrant workers where they are earning more what they would have got in Gulf countries and Malaysia. In South Korea, Nepali blue-collar jobholders earn monthly salary of $970 to $1,000, which is eight times more than other major destinations — the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Malaysia. Nepalis working in Israel are earning above $ 500 monthly.

Around 2,831 Nepalis are working in South Korea under EPS 2008 quota and 12,000 Nepalis are working in Israel. The EPS section of the MoLTM has managed to send two-thirds of the 6,768 job aspirants listed in EPS roster.

Israel is a well-paying destination where at least more than 10,000 Nepali women are working as care-givers.