A record number of 5,891 Bangladesh workers went to South Korea, a "popular, preferred" destination for them, in 2022.

The "low and medium" skilled workers from Bangladesh were taken by the East Asian country last year through its Employment Permit System (EPS) programme, according to the Embassy of South Korea in Bangladesh.

After almost one and a half years of suspension of admitting foreign EPS workers due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the South Korean government resumed taking them in December 2021.

From 2008 to 2022, 28,697 Bangladesh workers were taken by South Korea through the EPS and it is expected that around 100 to 120 workers are to be taken by South Korea every week this year.

The East Asian country is a popular destination for Bangladeshi expats as they can earn a minimum of $1,420 monthly, the legally guaranteed minimum wage of South Korea, the Korean mission in Bangladesh said Monday.

The monthly salary can be over $2,000 to $3,000 when overtime payment is combined, it added. "Also, South Korea encourages foreign workers to subscribe to four types of social security insurance, including accident insurance for foreign workers."

From 2007 to 2022, there were about 320 workers who returned to Bangladesh without receiving the departure guarantee insurance and airfare insurance which was tantamount to severance payments ranging from Tk30,000 to Tk400,000 per person, the mission said.

The Korean government, however, through the EPS Center in Dhaka has made an active effort to identify the location and contact information of the returned Bangladeshi workers, through the Overseas Employment and Expatriates' Welfare Ministry, to return their money.

In case the worker who should receive the insurance money is dead, his or her spouse, children, or parents can receive it when appropriate documents can be presented.

The first batch of this year's expatriate workers will leave for South Korea tonight from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on chartered flights operated by a Korean air company.

Among the 92 Bangladeshi workers in the first batch, 69 are new, and 23 are re-admitted ones.

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