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COVID-19 makes life tougher for immigrant workers

The Korea Times, Korea, 11 September 2020 - Korea is home to almost 2.5 million people who were born outside the country, with almost half coming from China and Vietnam, followed by the Philippines and Bangladesh.

However, the lives of those coming from developing countries are fragile here. They are usually manual workers with lower wages, and often came to Korea alone to send money back home to support their families. Even for those staying with family in Korea, the money they earn is far from enough to provide them with a decent living.

Then came the COVID-19 pandemic which made their lives even more precarious. The Korea Times reached out to a couple of workers from developing countries to hear their stories. All the names have been changed to protect their privacy.

Jose, from the Philippines, used to work at a shipbuilder in Mokpo, but lost his job in July when the company went bankrupt. He used to earn 1.8 million won a month, out of which he sent about 1.4 million back home to Cebu where his wife and daughter live.

He has been without any income for two months; but earlier this week, with the help of a local Korean resident, he was able to sue the company for his unpaid salary and severance pay of about 6 million won.



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