On Wednesday, Kunjan Thapa of Dolakha and Diwas Rai of Morang were working at a company in Yanggu County, 40 km away from South Korea’s capital city of Seoul. As the two had just finished having their lunch, a raid team from the Immigration Office arrived at their company that manufactures wires. Diwas was arrested by the police.
“A number of police officers had arrived at our company and we had no idea what was going on. The officers left the company after arresting Diwas,” said Kunjan adding, “I later found out that Diwas was arrested on the charge of securing a visa through fraudulent means. Instead of Diwas himself, someone else had sat for the Korean language test to secure his visa. Diwas said that he has been kept at a detention center and is being probed about the other person who sat for the exam. Apparently, he will be deported to Nepal next week.”
Of late, South Korea has been deporting Nepalis who secure their visas by fraudulently assigning another candidate for their language test as well as Nepalis who fraudulently sit for other people’s tests. “Though we don’t have the exact number of Nepalis that have been detained in Korea, we know that more than 50 Nepalis are currently kept in detention,” informed Uday Rai, chair of Prabasi Shramik Union (Foreign Employees’ Union).
He added, “Korean authorities are carrying out raids everywhere. Nepalis living in Korea have been calling us of late and asking us for help. But, we can’t help them in such cases.”
Uddav Neupane, First Secretary at the Nepali Embassy in Korea, said the Immigration Office of Korea had informed the embassy about deporting some Nepali nationals. “We have information that four Nepalis have been deported for fraudulently assigning another candidate for their Korean language test as well as Nepalis who fraudulently sit for other people’s tests,” said Neupane.
Outgoing Chairperson of Non-residential Nepalis’ Union in South Korea, Lakshmi Gurung, informed that many Nepalis were being arrested in Korea after their photos in the admit card for their Korean language test and their photos on the alien card (foreigners’ identity card) that they are given by the Immigration Office upon entering Korea did not match.
“I had worked as a translator at the Immigration Office where some Nepali boys were detained. There, I understood that Nepalis were being arrested after Korean authorities found them suspicious since their photos on the admit card did not match with their photos on the ID card.”
The Immigration Office in Korea intensified its search for Nepalis securing their visas through fraudulent means after one Nepali national was arrested on the same charge. The arrested Nepali national had secured a visa by making another person who looked alike sit for the Korean language test.
Mukta Gurung, who also worked as a translator said, “Once a Nepali boy, whom I knew, had been detained and was being investigated after his signature did not match in various documents. He was later deported after confessing to have made someone else sit for his language test.”
Suman Basnet of Ramechhap has been detained by the Immigration Office in Incheon of South Korea for the past two months. He has admitted to have helped one person secure a Korean visa by sitting for his language test. However, the Immigration Office has been investigating Basnet on suspicion that he might have taken the language test for many other Nepalis in exchange for money.
Saroj KC, who works at the same company as Basnet said, “I have visited the Immigration Office two times to see Basnet. The officers told me that the investigation is still underway. We have no idea when the case will be forwarded to a court or when a decision regarding Basnet’s fate will be taken.”