Foreign wives of Korean men getting more jobs

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Foreign wives of Korean men getting more jobs

A growing number of spouses from international marriages are seeking jobs here, taking advantage of the Korean government’s active job placement support for them, data showed yesterday.

According to data compiled by the Ministry of Employment and Labor, a total of 11,724 foreigners who settled here after being married to Koreans applied for employment via the government’s job network, called “Worknet,” a nearly six-fold increase in two years.

“Some 80 percent of the foreign spouses landed a job in the manufacturing sectors, while the other 20 percent found more professional ones such as interpreting and trading,” Bae Seok-hyun of Seoul’s job center said.

“Companies tend to prefer foreign wives over other foreign workers as the spouses are able to stay here without limitations,” he added.

In line with the soaring demand from job-seeking marriage immigrants, the government came up with diverse supportive measures. Job training programs have become available for free, starting this year, while an increased number of positions were reserved in the public sector such as the country’s multicultural family support centers.

The government’s efforts and favorable job-seeking environments for foreign wives, however, fall short of growing demand, as less than 30 percent of applicants landed a job last year.

“We still have a long way to go before meeting their demand,” said Jang Jong-seo, a Labor Ministry official. “Improving quality, not just quantity, of jobs is also a key task down the road.”

According to government data, the country has a total of 211,458 registered foreign spouses, mostly women from China and Southeast Asia, as of January last year, including those who became naturalized Koreans. Yonhap
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