Nepalis in South Korea

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Nepalese in South Korea
Total population
70,015 (2013)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Uijeongbu · Ansan · Gimhae · Gwangju[2]
Korean · Maithili • Nepali
Hinduism · Buddhism · Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Nepali people

Nepalese in South Korea comprise migrants from Nepal to South Korea, including temporary expatriates and permanent residents, as well as their locally born descendants. The Nepalese in South Korea are mainly of four distinct ethnic groups : Bahun (Brahmins), Chhetri (Rajputs), Madhesis and Janjatis.[3]

Migration history[edit]

The first wave of Nepalese immigration began in the late 1980s. After Nepal restored its democracy in the 1990s, labour laws were changed to allow Nepalese youths to go abroad in search of work.[2] The Nepalese community in South Korea thus consists primarily of migrant workers, but also has large numbers of students as well as Nepalese women married to South Korean men they met through international matchmaking agencies.[2][4] The Nepali government are attempting to induce Nepali workers staying illegally in South Korea (roughly 2,500 as of 2010) to return home, in hopes that the South Korean government will increase its intake of Nepali workers in future years.[5]


The Nepalese community managed to keep their traditions alive while living in South Korea. Nepalese festivals such as Tihar, Dasain and Teej are celebrated throughout the country.[2]


The Non-Resident Nepali Association of Korea is one organisation for Nepalese people living in South Korea. In 2010, they opened a shelter in Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul to provide charitable assistance for Nepalese who become unemployed or otherwise face difficulties.[6] Another organisation, aimed specifically at international students, is the Society of Nepalese Students in Korea (SONSIK), established in 2004.[7] South Korea's multilingual Migrant Workers' Television was founded by Nepali migrant worker Minod Moktan (Minu), a human rights activist who stayed in South Korea as an illegal alien for nearly 18 years before his deportation in October 2009.[8]


  1. ^ Total Nepalese in Korea Southpublisher=Ministry of Justice, South Korea, 2009, p. 262, retrieved 2011-03-21 
  2. ^ a b c d "10,000 Nepalese Diaspora Emerging in Korea", The Korea Times, 2009-10-23, retrieved 2010-08-23 
  3. ^ "Korea Madhesi Society to inspect condition of migrant Madhesi Victims in korea". 
  4. ^ "Nepali girls sold as 'brides' to old South Koreans", Daily News and Analysis, 2009-02-15, retrieved 2010-08-23 
  5. ^ Giri, Anil (2010-01-24), "Nepal to Roll Back 2,500 Illegal Workers From Korea", The Korea Times, retrieved 2010-08-26 
  6. ^ "Nepal house inaugurated in SKorea", República, 2010-08-18, retrieved 2010-08-23 
  7. ^ Hwang, Su-yeong (2010-08-23), "전국 네팔 유학생회 대구서 모임, 한국과 학술교류 통해 유대 강화", Maeil Shinmun, retrieved 2010-08-23 
  8. ^ Bae, Ji-sook (2009-10-25), "Nepalese Activist Deported", The Korea Times, retrieved 2010-08-26 

External links[edit]