Nepali workers’ hopes of returning to work dashed as South Korea demands ‘self-quarantine’ arrangementsThe flight scheduled for Tuesday was called off after it emerged that the workers had not complied with the Korean government’s new quarantine rules that came into effect in April.
Nepali migrant workers’ hopes of returning to work in South Korean have been dashed after authorities there asked them to submit a clear self-quarantine plan in view of the Covid-19 threat.
Nearly 250 workers, who had been in Nepal during their work-break and could not return due to lockdown and suspension of international flights, were set to leave for South Korea on Tuesday.
The Cabinet recently decided to allow them to return to South Korea on a chartered flight after they complete their medical examination.
“Every worker returning to South Korea will have to take with them a certificate detailing their 14-days self-quarantine plan,” said Krishna Prasad Khanal, director at the Employment Permit System (EPS) Section, which oversees labour migration to South Korea. The Human Resources Development Service of South Korea said that the ‘Confirmation of Self-Quarantine’ certificate will have to be prepared under a cooperation between business owners employing foreign workers, their colleagues and embassies.
“Upon submitting the details about the place where a person plans to self-quarantine, the local authority concerned in South Korea will inspect the place and decide whether it’s suitable or not,” Khanal told the Post. “Workers will have to find such a place themselves. Once the inspection is made, the Korean office in Nepal will issue the clearance certificate.”
The Korean government has imposed strict restrictions on outsiders entering the country in the wake of Covid-19 outbreak which wreaked havoc in the country. In April, the Korean government made it mandatory for all the travellers to stay in 14-days self-quarantine.
However, those coordinating the return of workers from Nepal (the Non-Resident Nepali Association) seem to have been unaware of the rules.
“Confusion prevailed as the decision to allow Nepali workers to return was passed by the Cabinet, but there was no clarity on who was to do what,” said Khanal. “The NRNA must have thought chartering a flight would be enough to take the workers back to South Korea. Now the whole process has come back to EPS again. We are coordinating their return together now.”
The EPS section is now updating the list of workers who can manage self-quarantine. “If only the role of the EPS section was made clear in the beginning, it would have been easier,” said Khanal. “Now the next flight is tentatively scheduled for May 20, but there is uncertainty around that as well. It depends on how the workers manage their self-quarantine facilities.”