The Nepalese government recently denied visas to two North Korean restaurant workers after they attempted to leave and re-enter the country to renew their documents, local media reported on Tuesday.
According to the Annapurna Express, the two workers had attempted to refresh their tourist visas by traveling to China and then returning to Nepal, but were denied entry by the country’s immigration authorities.
“We found out that they had gone to China for a night, hoping that their visas would be renewed when they came back to Nepal,” an immigration official said in comments carried by the Annapurna Express.
The two North Koreans were reportedly illegally working at the local Pyongyang Arirang Restaurant in Durbarmarg on tourist visas, which only allow visitors to stay in the country for 150 days a year and do not confer working rights.
The restaurant had previously been raided by the police, who found 11 North Koreans working there without the necessary permits, including the two who were later denied re-entry.
North Korea has numerous restaurants serving DPRK-style food scattered around Asia and the Middle East, with the staff in the restaurants typically performing songs as well as serving food.
UN resolutions currently prohibit member states from starting new hiring contracts for North Korean laborers and workers, in an attempt to limit the DPRK’s revenues from the practice.
The most recent UN measures passed in December last year require countries to repatriate any DPRK workers within their borders over a period of 24-months.
“Member States shall repatriate to the DPRK all DPRK nationals earning income in that Member State’s jurisdiction and all DPRK government safety oversight attachés monitoring DPRK workers abroad immediately but no later than 24 months,” paragraph eight of Resolution 2397 reads.
Nepal has never filed an implementation report to the UN 1718’s Committee outlining its sanctions implementation efforts, so it’s unclear if the country is acting in accordance with the UN restrictions or its own pre-existing national legislation.
It’s also not the first time that North Koreans have been caught working in Nepal without the appropriate paperwork, and the country’s authorities already expelled 54 DPRK nationals who were working on a hydroelectric plant despite only having tourist visas in 2015.
According to a report for the Asan Institute said there are approximately 50,000 North Koreans working in foreign countries, though most are concentrated in China and the Russian Far East.
The report established that DPRK citizens working abroad did not have standardized labor contracts and that the work was often not voluntary.
It is widely believed that North Koreans working in foreign countries are not paid directly, with the majority of their wages instead given to the DPRK government, who then issue small stipends for daily expenses.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
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Featured Image: Kathmandú by Sílvia Martín on 2017-03-04 08:11:02