Smaller Exporters in Dire Need of Foreign Workers

      July 18, 2023 12:52

      Six out of 10 small and medium-sized enterprises urgently need more foreign workers.
      In a survey of 484 small and midsize exporters by the Korea International Trade Association, 56.8 percent of respondents said they suffer a shortage of labor, rising to 60.1 percent in the provinces.
      Sixty-two companies that already employ on average 7.4 foreign workers said they need to increase their proportion 1.6 times if they are to cope.
      Asked if they have any problems with foreign labor, 43.3 percent complained that they change jobs too often, followed by the lack of sources to find foreign workers (42.7 percent), the brevity of their stay in the country (32.7 percent), and delays in visa processing (18.7 percent).
      Foreign workers arrive at Incheon International Airport, in this file photo from July 2022. /News1
      An auto parts manufacturer in North Gyeongsang Province said, "Foreign workers often work for only a short period and then return to their countries, and even when they come back they often change jobs. The cost of hiring and training them each time is high."
      To solve these problems, companies want more discretion for employers to choose foreign workers and longer visa periods along with a simplified hiring process.
      In another survey of 502 employers of foreign workers by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 52.4 percent of respondents also complained that workers often ask to be released from their contract so they can go on to a better paid job. If their employer turns them down, they stage a go-slow or stay away from work until the employer is fed up and lets them go.
      Some 46.8 percent want the foreign worker quota to be increased from this year's 110,000, while the rest said the current level is fine.
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