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South Korea ups job quota for Filipino workers

April 12, 2007 2:53pm
South Korea’s labor ministry has increased by 20 percent this year’s job roster quota of the Philippines to 12,000, from 10,000 in 2006.

Administrator Rosalinda Baldoz of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) attributed the quota increase to the Filipino laborers’ good performance last year.

The higher quota makes the Philippines the biggest labor exporter among 14 countries covered by Korea’s Employment Permit System (EPS), a government-to-government hiring scheme intended to curb the problem over illegal recruitment.

Baldoz said Thailand and Vietnam got 11,000 quota each, Indonesia and Mongolia got 9,000 each, and Sri Lanka, was given 8,000. Other countries have quota ranging from 1,000 t0 5,000 workers.

The EPS replaced the Alien Industrial Trainee System (AITS) that allowed hiring through private recruiters. Korea had abolished the trainee scheme and stopped issuing trainee visas since Jan 1, 2007.

As a result, Philippine licensed agencies that used to hire trainees for Korea could no longer recruit workers under the trainee scheme.

Under this scheme, Korean employers can only get foreign workers legally through the EPS. The POEA is the only government agency authorized to implement the scheme in the Philippines.

Sound migration policies

Baldoz said the increased quota for the Philippines “underscores the confidence of Korea in the soundness of our labor migration policies and the competence of the government overseas employment agencies to deliver the required services."

The Philippines and South Korea have a memorandum of understanding on the deployment of Filipino workers.

Baldoz said the additional job quota given to the Philippines effectively debunks speculations that the quota will be reduced due to the alleged increase in the number of overstaying Filipinos in Korea.

“The rate of increase of illegal foreign nationals was one of the criteria used in the country allocation so the insinuation was proved wrong with the increase of quota," Baldoz said.

Korea’s labor ministry reported that from January to November 2006, a total of 2,053 foreign workers left their employers illegally. Mongolians topped the list with 687; Thais, 621; Indonesians, 246; Filipinos, 231; Vietnamese, 193; and Sri Lankans, 84.

The other criteria used were the employers’ preference, labor contract cancellation, speed of deployment process, and number of industries looking for prospective workers.

Korean language test

The POEA is currently administering the registration of prospective overseas workers for the May 6 Korean Language Test (KLT) as a requirement for employment under the EPS.

Registration has been going on until April 20 at the Occupational Safety and Health Center on North Avenue corner Agham Road in Quezon City.

A brief commotion marred the first day of the registration on April 2 when hundreds of job applicants forced open the compound’s gate to gain entry into the compound.

The language test will be held on May 6 at the University of the East (UE) and San Sebastian College in Manila. Test venues for Cebu and Davao applicants have not been determined.

The original quota for the Philippines was for 9,000 Filipino males and 1,000 females for this year, mostly as factory workers.

Factory jobs in South Korea pay an average of $700 a month, excluding overtime pay, which is pegged at 150 percent of regular rates.

Baldoz said over the past three years, the EPS has employed 14,000 overseas Filipino workers.

Applicants should pass the Korean Language Test and the medical requirement for inclusion in the ‘Roster of Jobseekers’ to have a chance to be hired by a Korean employer, Baldoz said.

Simultaneous registration for KLT are going on at the POEA regional offices in Cebu (mezzanine floor of LDM building on MJ Cuenco Avenue corner Legaspi Street in Cebu City) and Davao (2nd floor of AMYA II building on Quimpo boulevard corner Tulip Street, Ecoland).

The May 6 KLT is the fifth that Korea has scheduled in the Philippines and eight other labor-exporting countries: Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, Cambodia, Uzbekistan and Pakistan.

The test covers 25 questions with 100 score for ‘listening’ for 40 minutes and another 25 questions for reading with 100 score for 50 minutes.

In order to pass, the applicant must get at least 40 points in each test domain, and an overall score of at least 120 points for the two tests. - GMANews.TV
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