Of the total 18,800 Nepali workers who went to South Korea through Employment Permit System (EPS), 1,117 are working there illegally shows a recent report by the South Korean immigration department. According to the report, there are a total of 52,000 illegal migrant workers in Korea.
The Korean government had implemented EPS in 2004 to meet the required workforce in small and medium sized industries through migrant workers. Since then 250,000 workers from 15 countries have come to South Korea through this system. There are more than 1.6 million migrant workers in South Korea of which close to 500,000 are Chinese.
In order to reduce the number of illegal workers, the Korean government is now planning to implement a new rule that will allow workers to receive home return insurance, once they arrive back in their home countries. The workers have been receiving the amount in Korea, which is 10 per cent of the deducted sum from their monthly income, after their contract ends. However, the trade unions have been opposing the decision.
Last year the government also implemented a tough law for employers hiring illegal migrant workers, which has a provision of a fine worth USD 2,000 or three years in prison.