South Korea allows illegal Vietnamese workers to return

By Viet Huong   October 11, 2018 | 01:38 am PT
South Korea allows illegal Vietnamese workers to return
Vietnamese workers attend a meeting of labor export. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs
A new South Korean policy allows voluntarily departing Vietnamese illegal migrants to return legally and not be blacklisted.

Under the new clemency-offering policy for illegal workers, from October 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019, Vietnamese workers who voluntarily return home will not be restricted from re-entering Korea, included in a blacklist, or be reported to Vietnamese authorities.

South Korean officials said the policy aims at pursuing and sanctioning unlawful workers and employers in construction and other sectors that affect the employment opportunities of local people or have a negative impact on local customs.

Illegal foreign workers who are arrested in raids will be deported and banned from returning to South Korea for 10 years. They will also be blacklisted and reported to Vietnamese authorities.

The Overseas Labor Center under Vietnam's labor ministry said it has formulated procedures to support Vietnamese workers in Korea. Workers can report on their situation on the website of the center if they need help returning to Vietnam.

If the migrant worker has lost his/her passport or the passport has expired, the Embassy of Vietnam in South Korea will assist them in getting new documents, it said.

South Korea is one of the largest labor export markets for Vietnam. However, the number of migrant workers who reside in the country illegally is relatively high.

There are over 45,398 Vietnamese migrant workers in South Korea by the end of June 2018. The majority of them register under the Employment Permit System, according to official labor reports.

Yet the Vietnamese also account for 30-40 percent of around 200,000 illegal foreign workers in South Korea.

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