HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: About 34 Nepalis working under the Employment Permit System (EPS) in South Korea have lost their lives since the hiring process started in 2007. According to the Nepali embassy in Seoul, eight Nepalis have committed suicide and eight have died in work-place accidents in the last four years.
South Korea is a lucrative destination for Nepali workers where migrant workers earn six times more than other popular destinations — Gulf countries and Malaysia. The monthly salary offered to EPS workers in the East Asian country is around $1,000 (Rs 85,000), while the average earning of Nepali migrant workers in the Gulf and Malaysia is around $225 (Rs 19,125).
Although South Korea is considered safe for migrant workers as its labour laws are efficient, work stress, machines and contact with chemicals are major causes of death among Nepalis, said Nepali journalist working in Seoul Min Prakash Uprety. “Work stress is the major reason behind Nepalis committing suicide,” he said.
According to him, unfamiliarity with mechanical work is the major cause for accidents. “More than 2,000 people have suffered from minor accidents in the destination,” he said, “Accidents and deaths of Nepalis have doubled in recent years as number of workers is growing.”
The Nepali embassy in Seoul is also aware of the rising deaths. “We have written to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the trend,” said charge de affairs Rajaram Bartaula. “The government has to emphasise on training about the culture and work environment in
Korea,” Bartaula said.
Nepali Migrant Workers’ Association has shown concern regarding the deaths of Nepali workers in South Korea. “We urge the Korean government
to provide more work safety measures for EPS workers,” said president of the association Udaya Rai. He also suggested the Nepali government to focus more on training and orientation programmes.
According to the association, the suicide of Deepak Subedi hailing from Lamjung district was the first such instance among Nepali EPS workers. Subedi committed suicide in 2007 which was followed by Rishiram Bhandari (Syangja), Gyan Prasad Regmi (Rautahat), Balram Neupane (Nuwakot), Man Bahadur Darlami (Palpa), Dhanraj Ghane (Lamjung), Padam Pant (Gulmi) and Gyan Bahadur Gotame (Syangja).
There are about 11,000 Nepalis working in South Korea and more than 8,000 are EPS workers. EPS Nepal has selected 15,200 Nepalis for jobs in 2012 and 2013. Every month, about 500 Nepali workers join South Korean jobs.