Conflicting messages are emerging on Malawi’s decision to export labour to South Korea following reports in the international media that the recipient country has not received an official request from Malawi for the programme.
But Malawi insists that the deal, which will see 336 Malawians travelling to Korea, has been formalised by the two governments.
Moon Sung Hwan, director at the Africa Division of South Korea’s ministry of foreign affairs, told Bloomberg BusinessWeek that his government has not received communication from Malawi on the issue.
He was reacting to a BBC story in which Minister of Labour Eunice Makangala confirmed that there is a deal between the two countries for the export of migrant workers.
“Our government has not received any official request from Malawi that they want to send their workers to our country,” Moon was quoted on www.businessweek.com.
However, Malawi Government spokesperson Moses Kunkuyu yesterday said the programme was formalised and will go ahead.
“The President travelled to South Korea, so did the Minister of Labour. We did the advertising, the short-listing and the interviewing. All these processes could not have happened without a basis. The President could not have launched this and said what she said.
“As for the comments from the said South Korean official, they do not come as a surprise. Locally, people have been making noise, saying South Korea is a war zone, that it treats immigrants as slaves. If Malawi was importing labour and someone said we were bad, what would we do?” said Kunkuyu.
He was referring to a report by Amnesty International which said migrant workers in South Korea are treated like slaves.