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South Korea amends policy on rehiring of foreign workers
February 17, 2012
South Korea recently granted two of the four concerns included in a petition signed
by 2,355 Filipino workers and their 633 Korean employers requesting changes in the
Employment Permit System (EPS) as the Korean Parliament promulgated Act No.
11276 (Revisions on the Act on Employment of Foreign Workers) on February 1,
Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said the new law, which will take effect on July
2, 2012, reduced the waiting period of foreign workers who have finished their
contracts and who wish to return to South Korea from six months to three months.
It also allowed the return of the foreign worker to the same employer where
they used to work before departure without having to undergo a Korean language
proficiency test or employment training.
Cacdac also said the Philippine Embassy in South Korea endorsed the petition
to the Ministry of Employment and Labor in March 2011, which was also discussed
during the negotiation for the renewal of the memorandum of understanding on the
Employment Permit System (EPS) between the Philippines and South Korea.
At present, a returning foreign worker who wants to be re-employed under
EPS after completing 4 years and 10 months employment in Korea can apply after a
waiting period of at least six months and is still required to go through another
Korean language test and employment training.
The POEA administrator clarified that the new policy applies to foreign
workers whose employment period of 4 years and 10 months expires after July 2,
Cacdac also emphasized that EPS workers can return to their former jobs if
they meet all of these criteria: (1) a new contract prior to reentry to South Korea; (2)
no record of transfer during the employment period except for justifiable causes
such as revocation of employment permit issued to an employer, or any violation of
the required working conditions; (3) the sector they were engaged in is still
experiencing labor shortage.
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