south korea migrants
A group of civic organizations are running a petition to collect signatures for support towards the right of migrant workers to change their place of work. It has been proven through such labor rights organizations that most migrant workers in South Korea do not have the right to change their place of work.
These groups have repeatedly tried to ask the government to intervene and do something about this unfair practice. But so far, no action has been taken. It is sad to note that no matter how difficult maybe the situation, these migrant workers were not allowed to change their jobs. The situation has been worst in Covid times as well.
The employment permit system that marked its 17th anniversary this year was designed to allow migrant workers to change workplaces up to three times during their three-year employment period.
But the permit system does come with a condition where migrant workers can change their workplace only under several conditions, one being if there was a cancellation of contract by the employer.
The civic groups, accordingly, have pointed out that migrant workers are virtually forced into compulsory work. There are currently 248,000 EPS migrant workers and approximately 398,000 undocumented migrant workers in South Korea. Many undocumented migrant workers initially enter South Korea on tourist visas or overstay previously issued work visas. The undocumented ones have died mysteriously since 2015. They are harassed and the government does nothing to prevent their inhuman existence. There are already 20,000 Asian migrant workers legally working on South Korean farms, mostly from Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Nepal. They were brought in under its Employment Permit System. Even these cannot change jobs easily. Many of them are employed in farms. Most thrive on using cheap migrant labor willing to work on low wages and longer working hours. There is a shortage of manpower in farms in South Korea, encouraging the use of undocumented workers too.