At least 10,100 Filipino skilled workers will be needed by South Korea this year to fill manpower requirements in manufacturing, construction, service, agriculture and livestock, and fishing, an official said.
Choi Seung Ho, general manager and director of Human Resource Department of Korea, announced the need for the following workers at a press conference held at the Korea Consular Office in Cebu at the University of Cebu Banilad Campus on Tuesday: 19,500, for manufacturing; 1,600, construction; 100, service industries; 2,000, agriculture and livestock; and 800, fisheries.
Choi said this year's quota for Filipino workers for Korea increased because of the Korean industries' preference for Filipinos.
At present, around 24,000 Filipinos work in manufacturing and construction industries in Korea.
"Aside from Filipinos, we also hire from Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia. (But) Filipinos are more preferred by many companies in Korea," Choi said.
However, applicants must pass the medical exam and get an 80 percent score in the Korean language test.
No Filipino workers were deployed in Korea in the last three years and eight months since no Korean proficiency test was given due to the delayed signing of the memorandum of understanding between the Philippines and Korea.
"Now we have done the first exam in May 2 with 6,500 applicants; 2,755 passed or 48 percent. On November 14, we will again give an exams in five major cities, including Cebu and Manila. We have already 10,669 applicants for this exams," Choi said.
Choi said that they also wanted more Cebuano worker. They had authorized the Cebu Korean Association Inc. (CKAI) to offer Korean classes to applicants so that they would pass the exams.
Charlie Shin, vice president of the United Korean Community Association Inc., said they would support CKAI and hope to offer Korean classes early next year.
Korean Consul language Augusto W. Go offered a room in the University of Cebu Banilad campus for the CKAI to hold their classes.
Choi said most Filipino workers in Korea were from Pampanga because its local government has a budget from the job promotions fund that assists its skilled workers for Korean language education.
"As a result, in Pampanga, they achieved 85 percent to 98 percent passing rate for their applicants. In Cebu, however, we only got 625 applicants out of the 10,699 for this coming November. We think this is because of the lesser awareness in Cebu and lesser people wanting to apply because of the proficiency test," Choi said.
Filipino or any foreign workers are assured of fair treatment by their employers while earning Korea's minimum wage of US$770.