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Migrant Workers in South Korea: Their Status and Rights under the Constitution

Lecture in Korean

Migrant Workers in South Korea: Their Status and Rights under the Constitution

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Jihye Kim, Professor, Department of Multicultural Studies, Gangneung-Wonju National University

Thursday, December 1, 2022
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM (Pacific Time)

10383 Bunche Hall (10th floor)

In 2004, South Korea introduced the Employment Permit System (EPS), which permits qualified employers to hire foreign workers when they fail to employ workers domestically. Under the EPS, the government takes the role of, among other things, recruiting workers from 16 countries with which it has signed MOUs, recommending candidates to employers, and supporting the contract procedure. Upon the completion of the hiring process, the migrant workers enter South Korea with the Non-Professional Employment (E-9) visa and work in small and medium-sized manufacturing, construction, agriculture, livestock, and fishery industries.

When established, the EPS claimed to guarantee migrant workers with the status and rights equal to other workers under the same national labor standards. However, because the law does not allow a change of employer at the worker’s will, the EPS has been under criticism as a scheme that leads to forced labor and exploitation against migrant workers. In this talk, after a brief introduction to the Korean immigration system, Professor Kim will review the controversies around the EPS and discuss the issues of the status and rights of migrant workers by focusing on the recent decision of the Korean Constitutional Court.


*Event is exclusive to CKS Visiting Scholars, graduate/undergraduate students, and faculty
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