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Aug 8, 2008
Stay of Foreign Workers in Korea Extended to 5 Years
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The rules on deployment of foreign workers in South Korea were recently revised and the changes seem to be to the advantage of expatriate workers.


For one, foreign workers in South Korea are now allowed to work for five straight years. Previous rule only permit three straight years of work with an enforced one-month vacation leave to be spent outside of Korea. With the new policy, foreign workers can opt not to have the one-month leave.


Luis Cruz, Philippine Ambassador to South Korea said that the decision to extend the stay of foreign workers there came from South Koreaís Ministry of Labor. The decision was made due to the complaints received from both the employers and foreign workers side. Korean employers complain that the compulsory vacation is bad for business and workers find the cost for the trip expensive and burdensome.


The new policy come with revised employment procedures to ensure that only qualified person will be hired by a company. The list of possible foreign workers to Korea now includes the detailed qualifications and employment record.


Past employment procedure does not give employers the chance to prove and screen the eligibility of applicants.  Employers only select applicants from the lists of those who pass a Korean Language test. They can also do direct recruitment through an overseas interview of applicants.


To help foreign workers adjust with the new environment, South Korean government now gives job information to workers after signing employment contracts.

Also, foreign workers will now have more freedom to transfer to a new employer or company if their rights and privileges are violated ( e.g. delayed compensation, violation of the KOrean Labor Law by the emloyer). Past employment rule limited the transfer of workplaces to factory closures or worksite abuse.


The new rule said, "In order to prevent workplace exploitation, conditions will be specified that allow workers to transfer to other companies. Workers can apply for transfers when wages are delayed and if their employer violates the Korean Labor Law."


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