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  • Foreign workers’ wages in arrears exceed 20 billion won annually (LABOR TODAY 779)
DATE: 2011-10-07 VIEW: 193
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It is found that overdue wages of foreign workers in Korea are on the rise every year

According to the statistics released by the Ministry of Employment and Labor on October 4, last year alone, a total of 9,145 foreign workers at 3,829 workplaces reported that their wages were delayed. The total amount of overdue wages in 2010 reaches 21,740 million won, which can be interpreted that on average, 2,377,000 won per foreign worker was not paid. Out of the amount, about 50 percent or 11,590 million won was paid but still the rest 10,150 million won is outstanding.

The reported amount of the overdue wages of foreign workers is on the steep increase every year as it is 6,280 million won in 2007, 17,030 million won in 2008, and 23,680 million won in 2009. Even in the first six months of this year, as economy is believed to have recovered, 3,976 foreign workers reported to the regional labor administration offices their wages were not paid. The reported amount is 9,790 million won and still, 4,440 million won out of the amount has not been paid yet.

The Ministry of Employment and Labor made it clear that, although foreign workers’ overdue wages have increased significantly at around the global economic crisis in 2008, the Ministry is taking stern measures, for instance, applying the same judicial punishment for delaying wages of foreign workers as like the case of Korean workers.

As of end July, foreign workers in Korea record about 181,000 and 93 % of them or 158,000 workers are engaged in the manufacturing industry. The back wage problem becomes more serious when the legitimate period for staying in Korea for foreign workers is terminated. According to the Ministry of Justice, an increasing number of foreign workers are accommodated at foreigners’ protection facilities for a long period, due to wages in arrears. For instance, at the Hwasung Foreign Workers Facility in Gyeonggi Province, the largest one of its kind in the nation, 3,151 foreigners were detained during the first half of this year. Out of them, 42% of the long-time detainees (248 workers) of more than 30 days were those whose wages were in arrears. In the case of Cheongju Foreigners Protection Facility, 15.4% of the long-time detainees were workers with overdue wages.
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