On March 16, Minister of Employment & Labor Lee Ki-kwon presided over a meeting in Seoul in order to ask for the cooperation of migrant worker sending countries for the implementation of worker dispatch system monitoring, which is to be carried out on a biannual basis from this year.
The purpose of the monitoring is to analyze the employment permit system (EPS) management capabilities of those countries and reflect the results in the EPS quota by country for the following year.
At the meeting, participants discussed the inclusion of job skills and careers in the criteria currently focusing on migrant workers’ Korean language proficiency. The foreign ambassadors who attended the meeting agreed on the necessity of reducing the number of illegal aliens for the protection of their human rights, a harmony with the domestic labor market, etc.
The Ministry of Employment & Labor is going to examine the efforts of those countries for the prevention of illegal immigration. The ratio of illegal stays to all the migrant workers staying in South Korea based on the EPS decreased from 16.9% to 15.6% between 2013 and 2014 and then to 15.3% last year. Approximately 540,000 migrant workers entered South Korea between 2004, when the EPS became effective, and the end of last year.
At present, about 280,000 are working for 50,000 or so South Korean small and medium enterprises.