South Korea cuts quota for new OFWs; illegals blamed

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04:57 AM January 19th, 2013

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By: Tina G. Santos, January 19th, 2013 04:57 AM

MANILA, Philippines—Bad news for Filipinos who want to work in Korea.

South Korea has reduced the number of Filipinos who may be allowed to work in the country because of the rising number of illegally staying Filipino workers there, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) chief Hans Leo Cacdac said.

“The Philippines may eventually lose a favored destination of Filipino workers if the number of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) illegally staying in Korea continues to increase,” Cacdac said.

He said the Korean Ministry of Employment and Labor (Moel) had decided to reduce the number of new Filipino workers who may be allowed to work in Korea this year to 4,200 from 5,200 in 2012.

For 2013, only 7,900 names of OFWs will be included in the roster, a marked decrease from 9,800 names in 2012, he added.

No quarrel with Korea

However, Cacdac said the POEA was not disputing the decision of Korea to slash the quota on Filipino workers.

“We have to abide with our contract with them. The memorandum of understanding between the government of Korea and the Philippines provides that ‘the Moel may take necessary measures such as reducing the number of job seekers in the roster or suspending participation in the Employment Permit System (EPS) if the number of Filipino workers absenting without leave or staying illegally in Korea exceeds the average for all sending countries,’” Cacdac explained.

The POEA recently launched a computer-based Test for Proficiency in Korean for EPS workers who have returned to the country after finishing their original work contract and who would like to work again in Korea.

He cited OFWs who availed of the computer-based testing facility for observing Korean immigration laws by not running away from their jobs and voluntarily leaving Korea after finishing their contracts.

“With the computer-based test, we are hoping that all qualified Filipino workers can efficiently re-enter and work in Korea thereby minimizing the number of Filipinos choosing to illegally stay and work in Korea than to return home and wait for six months before they can reapply for the Employment Permit System,” Cacdac said.

He urged OFWs to help preserve the positive image of the Filipino EPS workers so they could continue enjoying a good share of the demand for foreign workers in Korea and not ruin the chances of other Filipinos wishing to get jobs under the EPS.

“Let us reduce the number of Filipino irregular workers in Korea so we can have a higher quota next year,” Cacdac added.

The Philippines has deployed some 30,000 workers to Korea since 2004, mostly in its manufacturing sector.

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