October 28, 2022 11:08
The government will bring in more foreign workers to Korea next year in a bid to help alleviate labor shortages in the manufacturing and agriculture industries.
The government said Thursday that it will increase the foreign worker quota from 70,000 this year to 110,000 next year.
Small and mid-sized manufacturers and agriculture and livestock farms have suffered a shortage of laborers since the entry of foreign workers was curbed sharply during the last two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The government will receive applications for new work permits from businesses next month and issue them by the end of the year so that foreign workers can enter the country from as early as January.
The number of foreign workers in Korea with E-9 visas, which authorize employment in manual labor jobs, small factories, restaurants and farms, fell from 280,000 in 2018 to 218,000 in 2021 amid the pandemic. It has risen to 245,000 so far this year, but that is still not sufficient to meet the shortage of workers.
Minister of Employment and Labor Lee Jung-sik said, "We will boost the quota for foreign workers to a record-high 110,000 next year," adding, "The workers will be allocated to industries facing the biggest shortages."
The government also announced plans to invest W2 trillion over the next five years to nurture 1,000 promising start-ups in new fields and provide W50 trillion in liquidity to help small and mid-sized businesses seek innovative technologies (US$1=W1,417).
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