SEOUL, Aug. 21 (Korea Bizwire) – Foreign workers walked a red carpet strewn with flowers at Incheon International Airport yesterday as employees from the Human Resources Development Service of Korea and the embassies of Thailand, and Vietnam cheered on.
The ceremony was held for five workers who had completed the maximum duration of nine years and eight months designated for foreign workers in low-skilled jobs.
Currently, there are two means by which foreign workers can be approved for the required extension of stay up to nine years, eight months.
The ‘Hard Worker Initiative’ allows for foreign workers who have been employed at the same business for the initial maximum of four years and 10 months to extend their stay for the same amount of time.
There must be a gap of three months in which the worker must leave and re-enter the country.
The ‘Korean Proficiency Test Initiative’ allows for foreign workers who have left South Korea before the end of their initial stay and have passed a Korean proficiency test to return to their former workplace on another four-year, 10-month stay.
Their extended visa goes into effect six months after their date of departure from South Korea.
Addressing concerns that foreign workers may extend their stay up to 14 years, six months through both initiatives, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Employment and Labor is conducting a joint review of the policies to prevent workers who pass the Korean proficiency test from being eligible for the Hard Worker Initiative.