Korea, Thailand sign MOU to curb flow of illegal migrant workers

The justice ministry will work with Thailand’s labor ministry to prevent the flow of unregistered migrant workers to Korea, according to an agreement signed between the two ministries on the sidelines of the ASEAN-Korea Commemorative Summit, Monday.

The memorandum of understanding ― the result of a year of working-level negotiations ― was signed amid the recent rise in unregistered Thai workers here. According to immigration office data from July, 40 percent of 37,889 undocumented foreign residents living in Korea were Thai nationals. Illegal migrants make up around 15 percent of the foreign community in Korea.

“The two countries were of mutual understanding that the rise in illegally staying Thai people in Korea could harm friendly initiatives between the two countries, such as the mutual 90-day visa waiver policy (for Korean and Thai citizens),” the justice ministry said in a press statement.

Through the new agreement, Korean immigration authorities will have access to the Thai ministry’s information on Thai people suspected of working illegally in Korea. Likewise, the justice ministry will share its information on unregistered Thai migrants it is aware of. Regular working-level talks will be held between the two ministries once a year.

As one solution to the rise in unregistered workers, the Korean ministry also proposed an expansion of the five-month seasonal workers program, overseen by the Korean government to supply farm laborers to the emptying countryside during peak harvest season.

Written by Lee Suh-yoon
Source: Korea Times
Published on 27 November 2019
Link: https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/nation/2019/11/251_279376.html

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