CHANGWON, July 16 (Korea Bizwire) — Concerns are growing about foreign workers who have lost their job due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Making things worse, they are at risk of becoming illegal immigrants due to a lack of flights to return to their home countries.
The Gyeongnam Migrant Center and civic group Gyeongnam Migrant Solidarity issued a joint statement on Wednesday, calling for the government and embassies in South Korea to expand flights for immigrant workers.
The organizations claim that the number of immigrant workers who have lost their job due to the coronavirus and failed to obtain airline tickets to return to their home country, thereby suffering miserable living conditions, is increasing.
In Gyeonggi Province, for example, a foreign worker who came from Nepal robbed a taxi driver last month after losing his job and becoming homeless due to the coronavirus.
After being apprehended, he confessed that he committed the crime to get an airline ticket to return to home country, adding that he suffered from hunger after sending the last wages he received to his family back in Nepal.
He is not alone. A group of foreign artistic performers who entered South Korea with E-6 visas and staged performances at hotels and clubs lost their jobs in March due to the coronavirus.
They asked their embassy help arrange a flight for them to return to their home country, but they are still in South Korea due to a shortage of flights.
After they ran out of money, they went to rural areas and grabbed agricultural tools instead of musical instruments.
The embassy said that it takes long time to provide flights since the number of people on the standby list is too high.
M. H. Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)