South Korea to Welcome Record Number of Migrant Workers in 2023

SEOUL - South Korea is set to welcome a record 165,000 non-professional migrant workers next year under the Employment Permit System (EPS). This decision, announced by the Ministry of Employment and Labor on Monday, comes as a response to the growing labor shortages impacting various industries across the country.

According to Yonhap News Agency, arriving with the non-professional employment visa (E-9), can be employed. The expansion will now include the restaurant, mining, and forestry sectors. For example, Jeju, Sejong, and 98 local governments are set to recruit foreign workers as kitchen assistants for Korean restaurants. By industry, the manufacturing sector will absorb the most E-9 visa holders, with an allocation of 95,000 workers, followed by agriculture and livestock (16,000), services (13,000), fishing (10,000), construction (6,000), and shipbuilding (5,000). An additional 20,000 workers will be distributed across various industries. The E-9 visa is specifically designed for migrant workers in manual or non-professional labor roles. The number of such workers entering South Korea has been steadily increasing, from 52,000 in 2021, 69,000 in 2022, to 120,000 this year.

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