Korea to Raise Foreign Worker Quota by 120,000 Next Year

  • By Song Hye-jin, Shin Su-ji

    October 30, 2023 13:52

    Korea will raise the foreign worker quota by up to 120,000 next year to ease a labor shortage in small and medium-sized businesses.
    It will also more than double the proportion of foreigners any company is allowed to employ.
    Currently, the E-9 visa required for non-professional workers is not granted to foreign workers in hospitality, which means more than 80 percent of foreign workers go into manufacturing or farming.
    This has prompted the government to consider extending E-9 visa to foreign laborers who want menial work like cleaning jobs in hotels or condos or as kitchen assistants, where there is a shortage.
    The government has already extended permissible part-time working hours for foreign students from 20 to 25 a week.
    Foreign workers arrive at Incheon International Airport, in this file photo from June. /Newsis
    It also decided to raise the quota for foreign workers in the construction industry. The Ministry of Employment and Labor has already increased the quota by 34 percent from 2,400 last year to 3,220 this year and wants to raise it further next year.
    A new quota of 300 foreign construction workers are now eligible for E-7-4 visas for skilled laborers.
    The government also wants to give up to W2 million as encouragement to young Koreans who have been working for more than six months in any of 10 industrial sectors such as food and beverages, logistics and construction, which they mostly avoid (US$1=W1,356). 
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