A survey conducted by the Korea Enterprises Federation found that 55% of the 307 companies – with less than 300 employees- surveyed welcomed the government’s plan to increase the foreign workforce in 2023.
The government’s plan to bring in 110,000 migrant workers next year is the largest addition since 2004. Despite this, 40.1% of the companies surveyed asked that the government bring in more workers to meet the labor demand. These companies which are mainly involved in creating parts for automakers and shipbuilders are hit hardest by the foreign labor crunch.
Lim Young-tae, head of the KEF employment policy team, said that the government must be open to allowing foreigners to stay in South Korea longer. This is so that workplaces aren’t continuously affected by employees’ departures.
Foreign workers are currently allowed to work for a Korean business for nine years and eight months. Any longer and they will be met with punishment regardless of their workplace’s support. Lim relayed that 70% of the companies surveyed requested a visa extension for their foreign employees.
A senior official at the Labor of Ministry explained that extending migrant workers’ work visas requires law revisions. Interagency coordination between government departments is also necessary. There is currently no news as to whether these law revisions are currently being discussed.