OFWs in South Korea given one-year extension of stay — DOLE
MANILA, Philippines — Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in South Korea employed under a government-to-government hiring system can extend their period of stay and employment for one year, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said Sunday.
In a statement, DOLE said the Philippines’ labor attaché in South Korea informed Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III of the recent issuance from South Korea’s Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) and Ministry of Justice (MOJ) on the “relevant amendment” to the Act on Employment of Foreign Workers.
“The issuance provides that the stay and employment period of foreign workers (E-9 and H-2) under the EPS and whose employment period (3 years or 4 years and 10 months) expires from 13 April 2021 to 31 December 2021, is extended for one (1) year,” DOLE added.
According to Labor Attaché Maya Valderrama, the South Korean labor ministry sees the extension as a way to “resolve the difficulties of workers entering and leaving the country during the pandemic and the manpower shortage of small and medium-sized companies.”
The extension period of stay and employment, DOLE said, also applies to EPS workers who have been given a 50-day visa extension by South Korean authorities, provided that the extended period also falls within April 13 to December 31 this year.
The extension of stay and employment period of eligible foreign workers became effective on April 13, 2021, according to DOLE.
Bello expressed gratitude towards the South Korean government, saying the extension would benefit hundreds of workers in the said country.
“We welcome this unprecedented employment measure extended by the Republic of Korea (ROK) to our EPS workers especially during this time of the pandemic,” he said.
“The preservation of jobs of our OFWs everywhere in the world is our primordial concern, and this development highlights the value of our 15 years of continuing bilateral cooperation on labor with the ROK”, he added.
The EPS is a government-to-government employment system that allows Korean employers to legally hire foreign workers if there is unavailability in the local workforce, DOLE noted.
It is handled by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration as the sending agency with the Human Resource Development Service in Korea as its counterpart, the department added.
The Philippines was the first country to sign a memorandum of understanding on EPS with South Korea in 2004.
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