CHUNCHEON, Dec. 17 (Korea Bizwire) — Foreign workers have soared in number in Gangwon Province following the introduction of the seasonal foreign worker program three years ago.
The Bank of Korea (BOK) Gangwon Branch reported that there are currently 13,755 foreign workers in Gangwon Province.
Since 2015, the number rose by 19.6 percent with an average increase rate of 6.2 percent each year.
Among all foreign workers in Gangwon Province, seasonal workers went from 62 people in 2016 to 1,759 people in 2018, accounting for almost half of all seasonal workers in the country.
The BOK explained that the increasing number of seasonal workers was the result of high demand for foreign workers due to a lack of local laborers in the agricultural and fisheries industry along with active promotion by regional authorities.
In 2018, there were 3,645 marriage immigrants who are also foreign workers, accounting for 26.5 percent of all foreign workers in Gangwon Province, exceeding the national average of 16.8 percent.
The nationalities of foreign workers in Gangwon Province included Southeast Asian countries (43.5 percent), Northeast Asian countries (29.5 percent), and Southwest Asian countries (11.3 percent).
The BOK said that foreign workers are supplementing the chronic lack of domestic workers in Gangwon Province caused by the shrinking working age population.
The BOK recommended that extending the maximum period of stay for seasonal workers to more than three months could enable the agricultural and fisheries industry to manage trained staff in a more stable manner.
M. H. Lee (email@example.com)