Uncertainty remains over Korean jobs and language testsNepali workers’ migration to South Korea has been suspended since mid-February whereas the annual Korean language test has not taken place and is unlikely to happen anytime soon.
Months after the halt to departures for South Korean jobs, there are still no clear signs when Nepali workers will be able to reach South Korea again.
Migration of thousands of Nepali youths to South Korea has remained affected in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and it still looks uncertain if flights of Nepali workers to the country will resume soon.
According to Tikamani Neupane, a spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Employment, it is not sure when Nepali youths can migrate to South Korea again as there are no precise dates.
Thousands of Nepalis who were selected for the Korean jobs in 2020 have not been able to take them up, Neupane told the Post. “There have been numerous conditions from the South Korean side for Nepali youths to reach South Korea.”
Labour migration to South Korea has been halted since mid-February, when the East Asian country became a hotspot of Covid-19. The Korean authorities then requested the Nepali side not to send Nepali workers for some time.
Later, with the Covid-19 pandemic sweeping through both countries and the imposition of containment measures like lockdown and suspension of flights for months, Nepali workers' chance of travelling to South Korea was deferred.
In the last week of April, the government allowed Nepalis on their work breaks to return to Korea on chartered flights, but because of some issues with flights even they could not reach there.
The fate of Nepali youths who have cleared the Korean language and skill tests, mandatory for landing a job in Korea, still hangs in the balance.
According to Neupane, the department spokesperson, around 10,000 to 12,000 Nepalis are waiting to leave for South Korea.
“As many as 1,024 Nepali workers had reached South Korea before the pandemic struck and everything was then shut,” said Neupane. “We have been in regular communication with the Korean authority. Their conditions are sending workers on special flights, workers having negative PCR reports and fines if anyone is still found positive after landing in South Korea.”
The months-long wait has been frustrating for Nepali youths, who fear losing the job opportunity that they got after rigorous competition and heavy financial investment.
A total of 6,773 individuals had cleared both the language and skill tests for South Korean jobs in 2020. Besides, more candidates had passed the test in the preceding years and are still waiting to go.
Besides, the possibility of new candidates trying their luck for South Korean jobs also remains low because the Korean language test has not taken place.
The Test of Proficiency in Korean, a mandatory Korean language test for those aspiring to work in South Korea, for the year 2020 has not been possible due to Covid-19 concerns.
Every year, thousands of Nepali youths apply for the language test in the process of seeking employment in Korea, which remains an attractive labour destination. The monthly earnings of a worker exceed Rs 150,000 in the country. Since 2008, more than 60,000 Nepalis have reached South Korea following a government-to-government deal.
Applications for the language assessment usually are invited in April-May, and the language test takes place in June-July. This year, however, the dates are undecided.
“Dates for this year’s Korean language test are still uncertain even though the examination time has already crossed. The Korean side has said officials would visit Nepal by the end of this year or early next year for conducting language tests,” said Neupane. “We can’t say when the language test will take place—whether it will happen in 2021 or 2022.”