Mutually beneficial

South Korea’s interest in Nepal as a source country for skilled manpower under its newly-enforced Employment Permit System is akin to learning lessons from the past. This will help Nepal streamline its sorely disorganised foreign employment sector. A memorandum of understanding is expected to be signed by the end of February, opening the door for the export of 10,000 skilled Nepali workers to South Korea annually. An employment roster on the official website will help maintain transparency of the selection procedure. Training of potential candidates as per South Korea’s requirements, the learning of Korean language and familiarisation with the working environment will be steps in the right direction for gainful employment of the professionally well-equipped Nepalis in South Korea.

The recruits, moreover, won’t feel the culture shock or land up in a wrong firm or a wrong job, or with terms quite different from those agreed upon. So far, many Nepalis in Korea, Gulf countries or elsewhere have faced these problems, not to mention the degree of exploitation and torture suffered by them because of duping at the hands of unscrupulous agents. Had the previous governments pursued the issue with manpower-importing countries, things could have been different. The government should now extend the kind of understanding reached with Korea to other countries, too, to safeguard the interests of Nepali workers, providing the foreign employers at the same time with the right kind of manpower they require in terms acceptable to both the countries.