SEOUL, Aug. 31 (Korea Bizwire) – Foreigners who work in ‘root industries’ will have the opportunity to stay in the country permanently.
The Ministry of Trade Industry and Energy and the Department of Justice announced that they would open the door to changing the visa status of foreign laborers, and will start a pilot project that verifies the performance of foreign workers employed in ‘root industries’.
‘Root industries’ are fields that are related to the infrastructure of manufacturing businesses, such as casting and molding.
There are approximately 29,000 foreigners currently working in root industries, and most of them have non-professional working visas (E-9). With the E-9, workers can only stay a maximum of four years and 10 months in the country. However, after passing certain verifications, they will be able to switch to a Foreign National of Special Ability visa (E-7), which allows them to prolong their stay every two years.
The targets of the performance verification are those who have worked over four years at a business related to root industries, are at least high-school graduates (or equivalent), are under 40 years of age, and have Korean proficiency. Among those who meet the criteria, 50 people who do not have a technician’s license or do not meet the average salary requirement will be given a chance to prove their expertise in their tasks.
Authorities explain that they reflected on the fact that it is difficult for foreign workers to gain a technician’s license since the test is in Korean, and also hard for them to get paid over the average salary.
The foreign workers will be evaluated through a document examination, interview and on-site evaluation. Their skills and knowledge related to their duties will be observed. Industry and academic experts will team with an official from the Korea National Ppuri Industry Center and conduct the on-site evaluation. To gain objectivity and fairness, a pool of 73 experts will be made.
The government will carry its plans forward next year after making adjustments based on the errors found in the pilot project.
Applications for the evaluation should be submitted to the Korea National Ppuri Industry Center before October 2.
By Francine Jung (firstname.lastname@example.org)