SEOUL, March 16 (Korea Bizwire) — The government is pushing to revise local immigration laws to allow migrant workers from overseas to land parcel sorting jobs amid growing concerns over the industry’s manpower shortage and notoriously long work hours, officials said Tuesday.
The Ministry of Justice recently preannounced a revision of an enforcement decree on the Immigration Control Act to give more occupational choices to foreign nationals residing in South Korea with H-2 work and visit visas, according to the officials.
Under the current law, those with such visas can only work in 39 types of specified businesses, including manufacturers with fewer than 300 employees, and the livestock and fisheries industries.
If the amendment is approved by the Cabinet, areas of work for H-2 visa holders will also expand into the parcel shipment and the fruit and vegetable wholesale business, among others.
The move came as a government committee on policies for the foreign workforce highlighted the need to address labor shortages in certain industries, the justice ministry said.
The parcel shipping industry, in particular, has asked the government to allow the hiring of foreigners to address workforce shortages, amid a series of deaths of delivery workers presumed to be linked to overwork since last year.
Last year, 16 parcel couriers died supposedly from overwork, according to Taekbae Union, which represents couriers here, amid increased demand for deliveries due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In the parcel industry, only positions of item sorting will be open to foreign workers should the revision be approved.
The ministry plans to send the bill to the Cabinet sometime after April 26, waiting the mandatory 40 days after its preannouncement.