Labour Minister Excels Resolution on Illegal Workers in South Korea with Relevant Parties

26 เมษายน 2019
          Labour Minister, H.E. Police General Adul Sangsingkeo invited the relevant agencies to discuss ways to prevent and solve the issue of Thai workers being tricked and smuggled to work in South Korea. The discussion acknowledged opinions and suggestions regarding plans to arrest/prosecute people smuggling workers to work in South Korea, blocking job seekers looking to work illegally and blacklisting tourism operators illegally smuggling Thai workers to work in South Korea. The parties are ready to prepare measures to bring Thai workers back from South Korea, increase delivery efficiency and implement three measures to prevent smuggling, create awareness, suppress and block and enforce laws.
          On April 26, 2019, at the Prasong Rananant Conference Room in the Ministry of Labour, Labour Minister, H.E. Police General Adul Sangsingkeo chaired the meeting to discuss ways to prevent and solve Thai labour fraud issues and the smuggling of Thai workers to work in South Korea. The meeting took place with related agencies such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Consular Affairs, the Department of Tourism, the Royal Thai Police, the Immigration Office, the Tourist Police Headquarters, the Human Trafficking Suppression Division, Airports of Thailand PCL, the Embassy of Korea in Thailand, The HRD Korea Office, the Thai Travel Service Association, Thai Airways PCL, Thai AirAsia Co. Ltd., Eastar Jet Airlines, Jin Air Airlines and Korean Air Airlines attended the meeting.
          After the discussion on ways to prevent and solve the issue of Thai workers tricked and smuggled to work in South Korea, Labour Minister H.E. Police General Adul Sangsingkeo spoke about the case of a news release published in the media that the South Korean immigration police arrested 300 Thai people and denied entry at Incheon Airport. He said that today, many related agencies were invited to discuss and acknowledge opinions and suggestions on how to block job seekers looking for illegal work, plans to arrest/prosecute smugglers of Thai workers for working in South Korea and blacklisting tourism operators illegally organizing Thai workers to work in South Korea illegally. The meeting integrated and created cooperation in preparation to solve problems quickly. In principle, the plan aims to take care of the legal workers first and looks at how to take care of illegal workers and efficiently prepare workers who are traveling, preventing being deceived into working illegally. Initially, the plan looks to support Thai people to move back from South Korea and manage the deployment of Thai workers to South Korea with 3 measures: 1) Accept returning Thai workers whereby the Department of Employment has established a center to help Thai workers returning from South Korea at Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang Airports. The Employment Service Center for Thai People (Bangkok) and Provincial Employment Offices in every province will arrange additional staffing at Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang immigration points. 2) Increase efficiency of deploying Thai workers to work in South Korea legally, by registering those who wish to learn Korean with the Department of Skill Development at all 10 Bangkok Employment Offices and Provincial Employment Offices. The Royal Thai Police Office announced the reduction of the criminal record inspection period (CID) from 30 days to no more than 10-15 business days and negotiated with KRD Korea to increase the quota for Thai workers to work in South Korea under the EPS program from 5,000 people to 15,000 people. It also requested to expand the age of Thai workers from the original under 39 years to under 45 years and asked for more women workers to be able to work, and requested to extend the work period from 9 years 8 months to 14 years. 3) Prevent illegal work in South Korea by meeting relevant agencies in both the public and private sectors and check to block job seekers. From September 2018 - April 25, 2019, 3,784 people were examined, 2,758 had their travels suspended with suspicions of intention to work illegally (72.89 percent); 1,026 people did not have their journeys suspended (27.11 percent). Furthermore, there were 18 prosecution cases for 24 agents.
          At present, there are 165,854 Thai people in South Korea, 22,685 people legally residing and 143,169 illegally residing. There are 25,243 workers with work visas, whereby21,021 people were arranged through the EPS program which has a quota of 5,000 people annually, working in manufacturing, construction and agriculture. In 2018, 6,203 people were deployed and in 2019 (January to April 2019), 1,642 people have been deployed. There are 3 urgent measures: 1. Building awareness whereby discussions were held with Ministry of Foreign Affairs to publicize working legally, law enforcement and punishments in case of smuggling to work, blacklisting fraud companies and agents and legal proceedings to prevent illegal activity at the airport. 2. Suppression measures by arranging strict surveillance and inspection groups at the Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang jobseekers’ checkpoints, as well as setting up ad hoc units and online surveillance to monitor and publicize information. The measures will also warn job seekers not to believe in advertising or claims by individuals or groups who post messages or pictures to persuade workers to work in foreign countries illegally through social networks. 3. Law enforcement measures by publicizing about traveling to work legally and punishment in case of illegal work, blacklisting fraud companies and agents and legal proceedings to prevent unlawful activity at the airport to block illegal job seekers.
          Pol.Gen. Adul said that the government has focused on speeding up the resolutions as South Korea is a country that has a lot of Thai workers as they receive a higher wage of approximately 55,844 Baht per month. Furthermore, Korean employers need to hire Thai workers as they are skilled, disciplined, and patient, with the policy to take care of all Thai workers, whether legal or illegal. There are preparations for new workers to meet the needs of Korean employers, along with implementing legal measures to prevent unlawful work or being tricked into work. Thai workers seeking information about working abroad or looking report a complaint can contact the Provincial Employment Office in every province, the Bangkok Employment Office or the Central Employment Registration Office at the Department of Employment before deciding. The Labour Minister reiterated to not believe persuasion without proper information, especially on social media and emphasized that to work legally, workers cannot use a tourist visa and should prepare before going to work, such as their physical wellbeing, skills and language. He said for workers to think carefully, taking into account the worthiness of the travel, such as expenses deducted from wages or having to stay away from family. For more information, contact the Ministry of Labour’s 1506 hotline, press 2 to reach the Department of Employment.

Division of Public Relations/
Photos by Pariyaron Phromsakha Na Sakonnakhon/
Information by Department of Employment/
26 April 2019/