The govenrment of South Korea (Republic of Korea or ROK) has demonstrated that it is a true “chingu” of Filipinos, especially overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Sec. Silvestre Bello III thanked the Seoul government Sunday, April 18, for giving OFWs in South Korea a one-year extension of stay in light of the conditions caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“We welcome this unprecedented employment measure extended by the Republic of Korea (ROK) to our EPS (Employment Permit System) workers especially during this time of the pandemic,” Bello said.
“The preservation of jobs of our OFWs everywhere in the world is our primordial concern, and this development highlights the value of our 15 years of continuing bilateral cooperation on labor with the ROK,” the labor chief noted.
In a report to Bello, Labor Attaché Maya Valderrama of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Korea cited the recent issuance from ROK’s Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) and the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) on the relevant amendment to the Act on Employment of Foreign Workers, which extends the stay of foreign workers given the effects of the pandemic.
The issuance provides that the stay and employment period of foreign workers (E-9 and H-2) under the EPS and whose employment period (three years or four years and 10 months) expires from 13 April 2021 to 31 December 2021, is extended for one year.
According to Valderrama, the MOEL expects that this measure will resolve the difficulties of workers entering and leaving the country during the pandemic and the manpower shortage of small and medium-sized companies.
The guideline states that the extension period of stay and employment also applies to EPS workers who have been given a 50-day visa extension by Korea authorities, provided that the extended period also falls within the period 13 April 2021 to 31 December 2021.
ROK will automatically implement the extension of stay and employment period of eligible foreign workers effective 13 April 2021 through applications submitted by the respective employers.
The EPS is a government-to-government hiring system that allows Korean employers to legally employ foreign workers in cases of unavailability in the local workforce. It is managed by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) as the sending agency with the Human Resource Development Service in Korea as its counterpart.
The Philippines was the first sending country that signed the memorandum of understanding on EPS with ROK in 2004.