ICHEON, Nov. 14 (Korea Bizwire) – On November 7, an inspection into an Icheon, Gyeonggi Province-located package distribution center uncovered 191 migrant workers, all of them lacking valid work permits.
The investigation was conducted by immigration authorities from the Ministry of Justice, and with the assistance of a handful of related agencies, it was discovered that 175 of the foreigners held student or short stay visas. The other 16 were illegal immigrants with no documentation whatsoever.
The Suwon Immigration Office, which participated in the raid, has revealed that the foreign workers will be either fined or deported, while the package delivery company that hired them will face charges after the investigation is completed and handed over to the police.
A government official said that the investigation was launched on a tip that a package delivery company had hired foreign workers illegally for nighttime work.
The sudden loss in manpower understandably damaged the distribution center’s operations, which in turn served to delay package deliveries, irritating customers.
Complaints about delayed package deliveries around the date of the bust were prominent throughout online message boards, exemplified by comments like “[The delivery service] told me that a package I sent on November 1 finally arrived by November 12”.
Businesses in the foods industry were particularly affected; one company that ships vegetables to customers said it had to put a halt to all shipments despite the increased seasonal demand due to gimjang, the traditional kimchi-making period every November. The company added that it had to notify its customers of possible delays and promise refunds for spoiled produce.
The number of foreigners in South Korea has risen steadily thanks to an influx of migrant workers, more international marriages and visiting students. Figures provided by the Ministry of Justice last July revealed that 2 percent of the population (2.03 million) were foreigners. A separate report published by the ministry in February this year stated that 10.5 percent were illegal immigrants.
Jobs requiring a high degree of manual labor, dubbed “3D jobs” by locals (Dirty, Difficult, Dangerous), are often handled by migrant laborers from Southeast and Central Asia.
Lina Jang (email@example.com)