November 14, 2003


Korean industries have been a congenial workplace for the low wages employees from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and other foreign countries. I know that many people from Bangladesh have spent more than BD Taka 600,000 (5000 USDs) to get into South Korea, to get a decent job and to accumulate some savings after paying back the loans and come back to country to start a business or something.

Recently Korean govt has declared its new labor policy which entails that no foreigners would be allowed to work for more than 4 years. The foreign workers who are staying there for more than 4 years and other illegal aliens were given a deadline to leave the country within November 15. After that a crack down on illegal aliens will begin.

Facing forced deportation for being an illegal worker, a Sri Lankan laborer killed himself this week by jumping in front of a subway train. Another Bangladeshi named Liton Barua (30) hanged himself because of despair, thinking of how to repay the loans he has taken to come to Korea.

In an editorial the Chosun Ilbo notes that a lot of companies where these individuals have worked are withholding pay because they're about to get deported, on average of W2.15 million per worker. Or, enough to go start your own company in Bangladesh.

Says the editorial:

These are people who have worked in our companies and learned Korean, starting with phrases such as millin don juseyo ["Please give me the money I'm owed."] and Ttaeriji maseyo ["Please don't hit me"]. It doesn't take much to imagine what they'll tell people in their home countries if they get caught in the government's dragnet and forced to get on planes home without their wages. What would it feel like if it was your family or your acquaintances treated this unfairly overseas before being forcibly returned?

This is so shocking. The death of Liton Barua was also the headline in the Newspaper yesterday. I wonder what Bangladesh government is going to do about it.

Links via Oranckay.


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