250 Nepali workers to return to South Korea next weekDeparture possible after the authorities allowed Nepalis to leave for their jobs.
Chandan Kumar Mandal
The first batch of workers who were in Nepal for their break but could not return to South Korea due to the lockdown is set to leave next week on a chartered flight.
When nearly 250 migrants leave on May 12, they will become the first Nepali workers to land in South Korea in more than two months.
“The paperwork for their departure is being ready,” said Krishna Prasad Khanal, director at the Employment Permit System (EPS) Section of the Department of Foreign Employment. “The Non-resident Nepali Association has taken care of the flights,” said Khanal. “They are also collecting the details of those who want to return to work.”
Following weeks of lockdown and travel restrictions to and from Nepal, hundreds of Nepali migrant workers remain stuck at home and are unable to resume their jobs in South Korea, one of the first countries to experience a massive outbreak of Covid-19.
Last week, the Cabinet permitted Nepali migrant workers in South Korea, which has managed to control the coronavirus outbreak, to go back.
However, the government permission is only meant for those on the verge of losing their visas after failing to report to work.
The government had also said they would have to arrange for a chartered flight.
According to the EPS, 654 Nepalis working under the system had returned to Nepal before the lockdown and could not go back due to the travel restrictions. However, the Non-resident Nepalis’ Association, in its statement last month, had said over 1,000 Nepalis were unable to return to South Korea because of the lockdown.
“They [the NRNA] must have counted others such as students who had returned to Nepal before the lockdown as well. But only migrant workers would be allowed to return,” said Khanal. “The NRNA had sought details of those in Nepal for their work break. Before their departure, the name list will be verified once again.”
All of the workers will have to go through a mandatory medical examination before boarding the Nepali Airlines flight to South Korea. Workers’ medical examinations are going on at the Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital and other labs, according to Khanal.
The chartered flight will touch down at the Incheon International Airport, and the workers’ details will be collected before they are allowed to head to their place of residence, where they will have to stay in mandatory self-quarantine for 14 days.
Nepali workers’ departure for South Korea was halted in mid-February after the Southeast Asian country requested Nepal to do so.