Re-entry procedures for good foreign workers made easier

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Re-entry procedures for good foreign workers made easier

Starting in early July, “exemplary” foreign workers can be re-employed in Korea three months after returning home under a new law that makes rehiring them simpler and easier, officials said yesterday. Korea softened its rules on the rehiring of foreign workers with Non-professional Employment (E-9) visas in February, as part of efforts to help small firms retain skilled migrant workers and prevent workers with expired visas from overstaying. The revised law will take effect starting July 2.

The new rule will be applied only to foreign manual workers who have not left from their designated workplaces for four years and 10 months.

The law cuts the waiting period of foreign workers who want to return to Korea to three months from six months and does not require them to undergo the Korean Language Proficiency Test if they return to the same employer.

If their designated workplace is closed, foreign workers are asked to have maintained their labor contract with their previous employer at least for one year, labor ministry officials said.

At present, foreign workers with E-9 visas have to leave Korea for six months after completing employment for four years and 10 months. The softened rules will allow them to work again in South Korea for another four years and 10 months.

“The measure is aimed at helping companies retain skilled workers while reducing the number of illegal migrant workers,” said Lee Tae-hee, a senior official at the Labor Ministry. Korea, which has invited foreign workers in for low-paying jobs at small- and medium-sized firms since 2004, plans to allow in 57,000 foreign workers this year, up from 48,000 in 2011.


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