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|Quota of 16,300 foreign workers for second half of this year to be supplied in first half|
| Feb 9, 2012|
The government said that the 16,300 foreign workers scheduled to be supplied in the second half of this year (starting in July) will be supplied in the first half.
When the supply of foreign workers allocated for the first half started in January, the agriculture, livestock, construction and fisheries industries used up their quotas on the first day, leaving many workplaces in these industries still unable to get a supply of foreign workers. And the manufacturing sector is expected to exhaust its quota soon. In this situation, the action was taken in order to supply foreign workers when companies need them.
The government set the quota for non-professional foreigners (E-9) allowed into Korea this year at 57,000. Of the total, a quota of 46,000 foreigners was allocated between the first and second halves of this year. The remaining quota of 11,000 will be filled with foreign workers re-entering Korea (which will happen on an irregular basis).
* Foreign workers re-entering Korea : among foreign workers returning to their home countries after end of their employment period, ① those who have passed the special Korean language test and re-enter Korea six months after their return, and ② those who worked hard in a designated small workplace without a change of workplace while in Korea and re-enter Korea three months after their return.
** Foreign workforce quotas for H1 and H2 2012 by industry (original plan)
H1 2012 (in persons) Total = 29,700
H2 2012 (in persons) Total = 16,300
As for the timing of supplying foreign workers to companies, in the case of agriculture, livestock, construction, and fisheries industries where the first-half quotas have already run out, their second-half quotas will become available for use in late March or early April. On the other hand, in the caseof manufacturing and service, some of whose first-half quotas remain unused, their second-half quotas will be combined with their remaining first-half ones to supply foreign workers without interruption.
* In the case of manufacturing and service, their second-half quotas will be moved up and become available as soon as their remaining first-half quotas have run out. This will allow workplaces in these industries to apply for employment permits to Job Centers whenever they want to, if they meet the required conditions.
The specific date from which foreign workers are supplied in the agriculture, livestock, construction, and fisheries sectors will be publicly notified by the Minister of Employment and Labor. And the way they are supplied will be changed from the first-come-first-served method to a priority- or score-based one which will have a pilot-run period.
* In the manufacturing sector, things are going smoothly with regard to issuing employment permits for foreign workers allocated for the first half (87% of the quota has been exhausted.). Therefore, whether to extend the new priority- or score-based method to the manufacturing industry will be considered after it is applied first to the agricultural and livestock industries on a pilot basis.
Meanwhile, in the construction sector, the maximum number of newly employed foreign workers will be limited to five per workplace to enable more workplaces to employ new foreign workers.
"I hope this measure will be somewhat helpful to companies that have failed to get a share in the foreign workforce quota for the first half. We will continue to improve the system to remove any inconvenience," said Lee Tae-hee, the Director General of the Manpower Policy Bureau. "The government will crack down more strongly on foreigners illegally employed or staying in Korea while actively supporting the legitimate use of foreign workforces."
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