Govt plans to start counselling sessions for migrants going to South Korea as suicide trend rises

Nepali migrant workers suicide rate in foreign land

KATHMANDU, July 24: The Government of Nepal is planning to start special counselling sessions for the Nepali migrant workers seeking employment in South Korea as the number of Nepalis committing suicide and suffering from depression rises every year.

The counselling sessions will be held in collaboration with the Government of Korea, said Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Security Gokarna Bista during a program organised by the Korean Embassy in Kathmandu on Tuesday.

Over 75 migrants have died in South Korea due to various reasons form 2008 to 2017, according to Labor Migration for Employment: A Status Report for Nepal, a report made public in May last year.

Of them, according to EPS Korea Department, Gwarkho, at least 20 Nepali migrant workers committed suicide in the past six years. The statistics shows that, four Nepalis working in South Korea committed suicide in 2012, two in 2013, one in 2015, three in 2016, eight in 2017 and two in 2018.

“The increasing trend in suicide among the Nepali migrants and those who have returned is worrisome. The social social cost of labor migration is troubling particularly in terms of family breakdown and divorces and parenting void in parenting void for the children who are left behind,” said Kim Yong Kuk, dean of Asian Culture Center in Korea told the Himalayan Times.

Nepali migrants take their lives in South Korea because of the work pressure, mismatch in their expectations and the ground reality in the foreign land, among others.

The issue of the increasing trend in suicide needs an in-depth investigation, said Krishna Prasad Khanal, director of EPS Korea Section under Department of Foreign Employment.

The major causes of increasing rate in suicide is shocking mental health of the migrants, loneliness, homesickness and excessive fear for no apparent reasons.

There is a sharp rise in the number of deaths of Nepali migrant workers in foreign land, with the number rising from 821 in 2017 from 755 in 2016.

The Labor Migration Report states that the highest number  of deaths–which was 2,154– was reported in Malaysia.

The total number of deaths of Nepali migrants in foreign land from 2008-09 to 2016-17 stood at 5,892. While 1,152 died due to cardiac arrest, 650 (543 males and 7 females) had committed suicide.

The highest number of deaths were reported in 2014/15.

Gulf countries, Malaysia and South Korea are the most favored destinations for Nepali workers.