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Crackdown on relocation of foreign workers
Admin 2012/06/11 5:44 pm
Crackdown on Relocation of Foreign Workers
The Labor Ministry said Monday that it will clamp down on illegal job brokers who help foreign employment-permit holders change workplaces.
“There have been some reports recently on illegal brokers who lure foreign workers away from their designated workplace into new, often illegal, jobs,” said Lee Tae-hee, director of the ministry’s Manpower Policy Bureau.
No one other than officials at the ministry-run support centers are allowed to be involved in recruiting and hiring migrant workers under the Employment Permit System.
A breach of this is punishable by imprisonment of up to one year, or a fine of up to 10 million won ($8,500).
Korea runs the EPS with a total of 15 countries, including China, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.
At the end of last year, nearly 190,000 foreigners were employed in Korea with E-9 visas under the system. The year saw about 75,000 reports of a change in workplace, the ministry said.
“Frequent workplace change is a problem, as it brings down productivity, makes it hard for employers to manage the foreign workforce, and affects the work morale of other employees,” the labor official said.
Currently, foreign workers cannot change workplace more than three times during the three years allowed for their visa, and only twice after they extend their sojourn past the initial three-year period. If a worker cannot find a new employer within three months of the termination of the previous employment, he or she must leave the country.
Local civic groups for migrant workers’ rights and human rights activists have critized the rules for infringing on workers’ freedom to choose and change occupation. Last year, the Constitutional Court dismissed a complaint lodged by them, saying the law is constitutional.
By Lee Sun-young
Source: Korea Herald (2012.06.04) (http://view.koreaherald.com/kh/view.php?ud=20120604000994&cpv=0)
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