Immigration of migrant workers expanded to pre-COVID-19 levels

The government has decided to ease entry restrictions on migrant workers to pre-COVID-19 levels as the government implements step-by-step recovery measures. It is expected that a decision will be made at the COVID-19 Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters meeting to be held on the 5th at the earliest.

On the 1st, the Ministry of Employment and Labor announced that it was discussing with the quarantine authorities about ways to expand the countries introducing migrant workers and abolish the upper limit. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the government has strictly restricted the number of countries and the number of people who can enter Korea with a non-professional employment (E-9) visa for quarantine reasons. Until October of last year, entry of migrant workers from all 16 sending countries was blocked, but the restrictions on entry were gradually eased. Currently, new arrivals are possible from six countries, including Cambodia, Vietnam and China. The number of people entering the country is also limited to 100 per day and 600 per week. Only those who test negative for COVID-19 diagnosis (PCR) before entering the country are allowed to enter the country, and after entering the country, they will be quarantined at the facility for 14 days before being placed in the workplace.

Because of this, the number of migrant workers entering the country from 51,000 in 2019, before the outbreak of COVID-19, plummeted to 6,700 last year, and only 5,000 in August of this year. As vacancies for migrant workers whose period of stay had expired were tied to entry restrictions, the number of migrant workers residing in Korea fell by nearly 50,000 from 277,000 in 2019 to 219,000 last year.

According to the step-by-step recovery measures, the Ministry of Labor is pushing to allow entry of migrant workers from all 16 sending countries, including those targeted for strengthening quarantine. A plan to abolish the daily and weekly introduction limit is also being considered so that non-entry people can quickly go through immigration procedures.

On the same day, Minister of Labor Ahn Gyeong-deok visited a metal manufacturer in Ansan, Gyeonggi-do, which employs 12 migrant workers. Minister Ahn said, “On the premise of quarantine measures such as vaccination and negative confirmation of COVID-19 tests, all countries will promote the introduction of migrant workers and abolish the upper limit on the number of people entering the country so that the introduction of migrant workers can be expanded from the end of November at the latest. said

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