After a halt in departure to South Korea, now Korean language test looks uncertain tooBoth countries have not yet announced dates of Korean language test amidst the Covid-19 tension.
Chandan Kumar Mandal
The Covid-19 pandemic continues to hit Nepal’s labour migration sector as the dates for Korean language test for Korea job aspirants have also been affected.
The dates for Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK), a mandatory Korean language test for Nepali migrant workers aspiring to work in South Korea, have not been announced so far, which is linked to the ongoing global health crisis.
No formal announcement has been made about this year’s test, Baburam Ghimire, a section officer at the Employment Permit System (EPS) Section of the Department of Foreign Employment, told the Post.
“We have not heard anything from the Human Resources Development Service of South Korea regarding the language dates yet,” Ghimire said. “Usually, the notice about the test is out by this time of the year.”
Customarily, the EPS section announces the test in April-May. The test dates are then decided by the EPS Section and the Korean authority.
Since both countries are currently fighting Covid-19, the test dates remain undecided.
All departures to South Korea have been suspended since mid-February at the request of the Korean authorities as the country was in the midst of a fight against Covid-19. Before that, around 100 Nepali youths were leaving for South Korea every week. The first-timers would leave on Saturdays and the returnee migrant workers on Wednesdays.
Nearly 300 youths had completed the procedures to go to South Korea before the crisis, Ghimire told the Post.
The delay in the test means more youths preparing for the test will be affected. Last year, a record number of over 92,000 had applied for South Korean jobs. Only 6,908 among them had passed the language and skill tests to qualify for jobs in South Korea.
Those youths who had qualified for the 2020 job intake have been unable to leave.
“We have filled up the employment forms and submitted them to the Human Resources Development Service of South Korea. Their names have been updated on the roster as well,” Ghimire said. “Candidates have started getting their labour contracts from the employers, but due to the travel restrictions and lockdowns triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic, not a single candidate has been able to leave for South Korea.”
Every year, thousands of Nepali youths apply for the Korean language test with the dream of working in South Korea.
South Korea has emerged as one of the most-preferred labour destinations among aspiring Nepali migrant workers as the country offers better wages and facilities in comparison to other countries, like Malaysia and the Persian Gulf states.
Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak
UPDATED as of September 22, 2020
What is Covid-19?
Covid-19, short for coronavirus disease, is an illness caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, short for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Common symptoms of the disease include fever, dry cough, fatigue, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
How contagious is Covid-19?
Covid-19 can spread easily from person to person, especially in enclosed spaces. The virus can travel through the air in respiratory droplets produced when a sick person breathes, talks, coughs or sneezes. As the virus can also survive on plastic and steel surfaces for up to 72 hours and on cardboard for up to 24 hours, any contact with such surfaces can also spread the virus. Symptoms take between two to 14 days to appear, during which time the carrier is believed to be contagious.
Where did the virus come from?
The virus was first identified in Wuhan, China in late December. The coronavirus is a large family of viruses that is responsible for everything from the common cold to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). After an initial outbreak in Wuhan that spread across Hubei province, eventually infecting over 80,000 and killing more than 3,000, new infection rates in mainland China have dropped. However, the disease has since spread across the world at an alarming rate.
What is the current status of Covid-19?
The World Health Organisation has called the ongoing outbreak a “pandemic” and urged countries across the world to take precautionary measures. Covid-19 has spread to 213 countries and territories around the world and infected more than 31,405,983 people with 967,505 deaths and 22,990,260 recoveries. In South Asia, India has reported the highest number of infections at 5,557,573 with 88,943 deaths. While Pakistan has reported 306,304 confirmed cases with 6,420 deaths. Nepal has so far reported 65,276 cases with 427 deaths.
How dangerous is the disease?
The mortality rate for Covid-19 is estimated to be 3.6 percent, but new studies have put the rate slightly higher at 5.7 percent. Although Covid-19 is not too dangerous to young healthy people, older individuals and those with immune-compromised systems are at greater risk of death. People with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease, or those who’ve recently undergone serious medical procedures, are also at risk.
How do I keep myself safe?
The WHO advises that the most important thing you can do is wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol content. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands. Clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces like your computers and phones. Avoid large crowds of people. Seek medical attention if symptoms persist for longer than a few days.
Is it time to panic?
No. The government has imposed a lockdown to limit the spread of the virus. There is no need to begin stockpiling food, cooking gas or hand sanitizers. However, it is always prudent to take sensible precautions like the ones identified above.