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Foreign workers in South Korea given one year extension

New Straits Times, South Korea, 20 December 2021 - FOREIGN workers in South Korea are expected to be given a one-year extension to stay in the country as the government tries to overcome the problem of labour shortage triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Ministry of Labour and Employment said discussions on the matter were carried out and the plan is expected to be formally confirmed on Dec 28.

The Korea Times reports that according to the plan, foreign workers with E-9 and H-2 visas whose stay ends between Jan 1 and April 12, 2022, will be given a one-year extension from the day of their visa expiration.

Under the plan, ethnic Koreans with foreign passports will need to have their certificates of employment under the Employment Permit System (EPS) reissued and report on the commencement of work, in order to have their H-2 visas extended.

The ministry said there are around 40,000 foreign nationals who will be eligible for the extension plan.

The annual average number of foreign workers entering South Korea dropped dramatically from 50,000 to just 6,000 due to the pandemic, causing a severe labour shortage for small businesses, and the farming and fishing sectors.

"Despite normalising foreign workers' entry to the country in November, further entries are expected to face difficulty due to the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant and halt in the return to normalcy plan," Park Hwa-jin, the vice labour minister, said in a statement.

"The ministry hopes the plan will help foreign workers with their departure issues and alleviate manpower shortages at businesses," Park said.

Meanwhile in another development, hundreds of migrant workers and local activists marched down the streets of central Seoul on Sunday, calling for better working and living conditions and the eradication of discrimination.

The rally was organised by over 20 migrant workers' support groups.

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Source: https://www.nst.com.my/world/region/2021/12/756146/foreign-workers-south-korea-given-one-year-extension

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