Foreigners in pension scheme reach 200,000

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Foreigners in pension scheme reach 200,000

Foreign residents in Korea enrolled with the National Pension Service (NPS) exceeded 200,000 for the first time.

According to National Pension Service (NPS) yesterday, the number of foreigners residing in Korea who are insured under the National Pension Service increased by 12 percent this year from 183,903 to 205,645.

The NPS said the jump was the result of an increase in Chinese nationals. China accounts for nearly half the foreign enrollees in the NPS, reaching 44.4 percent this year and a total of 91,211, up 24.7 percent from 2010.

Indonesia was second with 19,425, followed by the Philippines, Thailand, the United States and Sri Lanka, all exceeding 15,000 members.

At the end of June, there were 1.39 million foreigners living in Korea, according to the Korea Immigration Service.

So far, 1,473 foreigners have received pensions. Foreigners who leave the country received it in a lump sum.

Foreigners from the ages of 18 to 60 who reside and work in Korea are mandatorily covered under the National Pension Service.

From August 1995, foreigners working in workplaces with five or more full-time employees were included in the National Pension Service. In April 1999, that was extended to foreigners working at smaller companies and the self-employed.

The NPS said it has signed social security agreements with as many countries as possible so foreign residents can avoid double payments.

Korea currently has agreements with 24 countries including Iran, Canada, the United States, the Netherlands, Italy, Denmark and Australia. India signed an agreement last month. The NPS said that it has recently signed agreements with the Philippines and Spain, which will take effect in the near future. It is preparing to sign agreements with 23 more countries including New Zealand, Brazil, Russia, Indonesia and Greece.

The NPS said it offers an information hotline in 15 languages including English, Chinese, Malay and even Kirghiz.

English and Thai speakers can call (02) 2176-8730. Chinese and Japanese speakers should call (02) 2176-8731. For other languages, the hotline is 1644-0644.

“With International Migrants Day approaching [on Sunday], the NPS is determined to develop various pension schemes for foreigners,” NPS Chairman Jun Kwang-woo said, “so that migrant workers and members of multiethnic families in Korea can be treated equally when it comes to pensions.”


By Yim Seung-hye [sharon@joongang.co.kr]

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