KATHMANDU ― Nepal has said it will take illegal Nepalese migrants out of South Korea, adding that Seoul will increase its quota of legal Nepalese workers if the process goes smoothly.
The latest appeal from Korea came during the visit of Nepalese Labor and Transport Minister Mo. Afatab Alam, who was in Seoul last week to renew the Nepal-Korea Employment Service System, a legal permit that provides a legal channel for Nepalese to work inside Korea, said a senior Nepali government official.
According to unofficial data, more than 2,500 Nepalis are currently staying in Korea in violation of local labor rules.
"During the meeting with his Nepalese counterpart, Korean Labor Minister Lim Tae-hee asked Nepal to take back its illegal workers from Korea," Baburam Acharya, secretary of the Ministry of Labor and Transport said. Acharya was also present during the meeting.
After receiving the request, Nepal promptly started to take action on its illegal workers to call them to back home, he said.
We are in the process of launching a campaign against those who are staying without a visa in Korea. We will soon implement it, he said.
"We were told that if those illegal workers come back to Nepal, Korea would move to increase the number of Nepali workers in Korea. So we decided to call them back," said Acharya.
The Nepalese Labor Ministry has sent a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently and asked it to initiate an effort to return those who are staying illegal in Korea immediately.
From time to time, the Korean Immigration Office has deported illegal Nepali workers after they were caught with expired visas. But this time the Korean side has sought help from Nepalese authorities, to address those who have yet to be rounded up.
Nepal is expected to call them back by April or May.
Korea has recently endorsed a law that states that if any Korean companies are found providing jobs to illegal workers, they will face legal action.
The Korean government also announced that it would remove all illegal workers from Korea within two years.
Nepal does not have any official data about how many Nepalis are working inside Korea without a visa but unofficial numbers could surpass 2,500.