Small Manufacturers Face Foreign Labor Shortage

  • By Choi Won-woo

    June 29, 2020 09:49

    Smaller manufacturers are suffering a growing labor shortage because foreign workers are being kept away by the coronavirus lockdown.

    In a poll by the Korea Federation of Small and Medium Business of 1,062 companies that have asked the government for permission to hire foreign workers this year, 52 percent said their production is being disrupted because migrant workers are late arriving.

    According to the Ministry of Employment and Labor, some 26,000 foreign workers a year entered the country on a work visa between 2015 and 2019, but only about 2,000 came in the first half of this year, a mere seven percent of the originally projected 30,000.

    None have entered the country since March 26, when the coronavirus epidemic reached its peak here.

    The owner of a small manufacturer said, "We would hire domestic labor despite the higher wages, but they never want to do the hard work, so we have no choice but to hire foreigners."

    He added, "Quarantine is important, but the government should allow essential foreign workers to enter the country to help SMEs that face a labor shortage."

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