South Korea, a popular destination for migrant workers, has expanded its employment sector for Nepali jobseekers under the Employment Permit System (EPS). The East Asian country will now hire Nepalis to work in the shipbuilding industry, a sector previously unexplored by Nepali workers in South Korea.
A New Opportunity
The Human Resource Department of Korea has requested Nepali authorities to select as many as 3,000 individuals for the shipbuilding sector this year. This new opportunity comes as South Korea, a global leader in the shipbuilding market, faces a severe labor shortage due to a surge of orders. The country is expected to suffer an estimated shortage of 14,000 workers by the end of 2023.
The Selection Process
The selection process for the shipbuilding sector will be similar to that for the manufacturing sector. Candidates who clear both the Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK) and the skill test are included in the roster. While both men and women are eligible for shipbuilding work, Korean employers might prefer hiring men, as they will be given welding-related work.
Successful candidates will receive two months' training with salary before being put to work in the shipyards. Workers putting in 209 hours a month will earn 2,010,580 won (around Rs200,000). The actual salary and benefits in the shipbuilding sector might be slightly higher than in the other two sectors.
The Cost of Aspiring for South Korean Jobs
Despite the demand and competition for South Korean jobs, concerns regarding the cost aspiring workers have to bear have often been neglected. Recruitment is done under the government-to-government modality, and workers have to pay all recruitment-related expenses. Fees for language classes, rent, food costs, examination fee, visa, and airfare add to their expenses.
A research paper published recently shows that migrant workers going to South Korea are better educated and more well-off than those going to the Gulf and Malaysia, indicating high recruitment and related costs. There is a need to evaluate and bring down the financial and social costs for securing South Korean jobs.
The opening of the shipbuilding sector in South Korea for Nepali workers is a significant development. It not only provides a new avenue for employment but also contributes to addressing the labor shortage in the South Korean shipbuilding industry. However, it is crucial to address the high costs associated with securing these jobs to ensure that this opportunity is accessible to a broader range of Nepali workers.