ASAN -- The new coronavirus pandemic has severely disrupted arrivals of migrant manual workers with work visas in South Korea this year, according to a lawmaker Monday.
The number of international workers with the E-9 non-professional employment visas who entered the country during the January-August period reached 5,590, according to Rep. Kang Hoon-sik of the ruling Democratic Party.
The figure represents 9.9 percent of the 56,000 international E-9 visa holders who were allowed to come to South Korea in 2020.
Kang cited data submitted by the labor ministry.
South Korea has a work permit system under which laborers from 15 countries are allowed to work for up to a maximum of nine years and eight months under the E-9 visa in fields of manual work, such as fishing, farming and manufacturing.
Of those who arrived, 4,028 were workers in manufacturing, followed by those in agriculture and fishing at 1,131 and 253, respectively. The number of workers in construction reached 177 out of the 2,300 allowed by the government this year.
According to Kang, the most recent arrival date of E-9 holding workers was March 25.
"Amid the difficulty in procuring workers from overseas, the government should create a work force pool that can fill the labor vacuum and come up with measures, such as offering financial incentives, for companies that run such a program," said Kang. (Yonhap)