Nepali migrants to benefit from new Korea guidelinesSouth Korea introduced a new set of guidelines allowing foreign migrants to claim medical benefits even after returning home in case the disease have links with their occupation in the host country.
In a move that could benefit thousands of Nepali migrants, South Korea on Monday introduced a new set of guidelines allowing foreign migrants to claim medical benefits even after returning home in case the disease have links with their occupation in the host country.
The guidelines allow both legal and illegal migrants to claim such benefits through South Korea Industrial Accident Compensation Insurance—one of four South Korean government’s social security schemes.
“They are eligible to apply for medical benefits if the occupational disease occurs after returning home,” said Lee Dong Sirk, director of Human Resources Development Service at Korea EPS Centre in Kathmandu. “Returnee migrants can apply and receive such benefits through the centre.”
South Korea has also introduced other security schemes to injured workers and families of deceased migrants. South Korean EPS Centre in Kathmandu said that the kin of Nepali migrants who died in industrial accident in South Korea will be entitled to lifelong pension. The families could get such benefits in lump sum.
“Only the families of migrants who have died in work-related incidents will receive pension, while others will be compensated through other schemes,” said Sirk.
Besides, nearly 30,000 Nepali migrants currently working in South Korea, the new guidelines could benefit thousands of those who have already returned Nepal. Though not on the scale in other work destinations, scores of Nepali die each year in South Korea, while many more return home with various kind of disabilities and health problems due to difficult nature of jobs. About 100 Nepali workers have died in South Korea since 2007.
In case of foreign workers still on the job, the guidelines ensure 70 percent of average daily wage in case the worker cannot report for duty while getting medical treatment due to job-related injuries and diseases. Similarly, foreign workers suffering from short- and long-term disabilities due to occupation will receive varying amounts in compensation based on duration and nature of injury.
Unlike in the Gulf and Malaysia, South Korea is believed to treat both domestic and foreign workers on par. Its labour law also makes it binding for the concerned employers and agencies to provide equal treatment to workers working in legal and illegal status.
South Korea, one of the most sought after job destinations, also prohibits wage disparity between foreign and domestic workers. A Nepali migrant earn a minimum of Rs150,000 in South Korea.
Records from Nepali missions in various job destinations show that nearly 800 Nepali migrant have died in work-related incidents in the host countries, but hardly 20 percent families of the deceased migrants have received due compensation.
“Because of the lack of 24-hour insurance cover for migrants in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, families of migrants who died of natural or other unknown causes are deprived of compensation. In some cases, the employer themselves provide some amount as good gesture,” said Uday Raj Pandey, Nepal’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
The government earlier this year had requested Qatar to provide 24-hour insurance to Nepali workers. Officials said plans are afoot to ensure full insurance coverage to workers by incorporating the provision in labour agreements.