HAENAM, March 31 (Korea Bizwire) — The coronavirus outbreak is dealing a significant blow to farming and fishing villages across South Korea.
While foreign workers are responsible for 80 to 90 percent of the labor force in these villages, there is a marked shortage workers this year as the COVID-19 pandemic ravages the globe, prompting unprecedented travel restrictions.
With many of the migrant workers in South Korea having returned to their home countries, new entry into the country has become very difficult due to the outbreak, resulting in a significant labor shortage.
As of the end of last year, 44,000 foreigners were engaged in farming and fishing, accounting for 3.6 percent of the total population of farming and fishing villages, which stands at 1.21 million.
This share effectively doubles when accounting for foreign workers who had not received formal employment permits.
“In Haenam (a southern coastal county in South Jeolla Province), the number of employees in rural areas reaches 10,000 during peak seasons such as the sweet potato and cabbage harvesting season,” a source at the manpower office.
Image Credit: Yonhap / Haenam County Office / email@example.com