Jun. 18  2024
Write Article 
About Us 
Christian's Photo Column 


Joint Statement: Struggle for Legalization and Working Visa! Fight Working Class Oppression!


Attacks and Crackdown to Migrant workers in Korea

The Trainee System in Korea is one of the forms of exploitation of migrant workers; it is an exploitative system used by the Korean government to deprive migrants of their rights and privileges as workers; that it breeds undocumented workers due to the inhuman working conditions in the workplaces, (long working hours, verbal and physical abuse, low wages, despite working in dirty, difficult and dangerous jobs. Korea have adopted the trainee system to prevent migrant workers from becoming permanent ones and control their stay in the host countries.

Recently the Korean government bill has peen passed in to law, which will introduce an Employment Permit System that will co-exist with Industrial Training System to a large extent. Some may consider this good news for foreign workers suffering under an ill-devised system. The industrial trainee system has widely been abused by small and medium-sized enterprises to hire cheap foreign labor, mostly in the so-called 3D (dirty, dangerous, difficult) areas that migrants are hired by capitalist and take advantage of their undocumented status. The Korean government uses this to deprive migrants of their rights and privileges as workers; that it breeds undocumented workers due to the inhuman working conditions in the workplaces.

But the bad news is that all 290,000 illegal migrant workers, comprising 80 percent of migrant workers employed at local industrial firms, will have to leave the country sooner or later. The Ministry of Justice, in an effort to reduce the more than 300,000 people residing in the country illegally, is allowing foreign workers who have overstayed their visas for less than four years to apply for work permit. Some 148,000 workers who have stayed here for more than three years must leave the country before the middle of November. Some 107,000 others who have been here for less than three years will be given a chance to change their status of sojourn, should they exit Korea, they will be allowed to return to complete the remaining period to 5 years starting from that date they first enter Korea. Those who have not are not registered or who have overstayed for longer than four years will be expelled or forcefully deported as announced by the government.

STOP the Korean Government's Criminalization of Undocumented Migrant Workers

The government of Korea should and must accept the fact that migrants has a dual role in the host country. One of which is their contribution in the economy as a source of cheap and docile labor and on the other hand as an active consumer who purchases goods and avail of services of banks, restaurants, small stores, and so on. But this contributions remains unrecognized and instead their rights are continuously suppressed.

The recently new method of crackdown per area is none other than but the maneuver to hide the hideous attacks to the migrants thus violating our rights.

While there is no guarantee that the Employment Permit System (EPS) would improve the condition of migrant workers in any dramatic way, the government should provide legalization and working visa to all undocumented migrants , covering all 3 years below and 4 years above. On doing so, the 3 basic rights for migrants should also be recognized. The number of undocumented migrants are but result of the Korean policies that suppresses basic rights of migrants as reflected on Trainee System & EPS.

As it turned out that an Employment Permit System is passed, Migrant workers should be allowed recognize the right to change their workplace as stipulated on the UN and International conventions. The Korean Government should not prevent migrant workers mobility. Linking arms of all working class from all nationalities is very timely especially in the midst of the explosive nature of repression to workers in Korea and the rest of the world brought about by the moribund crisis of capitalism. While the prescription of liberalization, labor structuring, and globalization cannot be solved by the same prescriptions peddled by multi-national, regional and sub-regional institutions like APEC WTO, etc and the international financial institutions like the IMF-WB, ADB and the like. Their impositions of exacerbates the situation both to labor exporting countries and receiving countries. Thus the labor-export and forced migration is not abated but rather intensified side by side with the labour restructuring to local workers like in Korea in order to generate much needed income generated form the remittances and lower social cost out of the migrants labor.

Evidently, the increasing incidence of abuse exploitation and human rights violation against foreign workers and local workers reached undeniable proportions. This global trend of recession brings with it numerous contradictions and dilemmas between migrant workers and local workers in host countries. Migrant workers are blamed for the social ills like unemployment and slashing of social welfare experienced by the local workers. In fact, the capitalist are making use of the migrant workers as the scapegoats to the crisis which the capitalist themselves created. Capitalist are making all efforts to divide the workers employing contractual and contingent workers against the regular workers. We should understand that the new system of hiring migrants, hiring more contingent, contractual or non-permanent workers are schemes being used by the capitalist in order to divide the workers ranks.

Korean Workers and Migrant Workers Linking Arms in Solidarity Against capitalist Exploitation, Plunder and Attacks!

While the Korean labor union is battered by the attacks on their ranks and union by the capitalist and government, so little opportunity is available for organizing the migrants into their ranks. To make matters worst, the Korean labor Department does not allow migrant workers to join labor union. Nowadays, as an alternative solution, creating a migrant workers union under a local labour union instead of a separate union in each small business is workable. However, even though with the concurrent undocumented status of migrant workers, the migrants can participate together to some extent in organized labour union activities.

As the anti workers attacks intensify, it is most timely to bring together migrants of different nationalities together and side by side with Korean workers. Though two way efforts should be done in order for both the Korean workers and migrant workers establish a class basis solidarity and struggle. Korean workers and Migrant workers as one class should and will strongly wield unity, and cooperation that will lead to deeper solidarity on issues common to all the working class.

Migrants and Workers of All Nationalities, Unite!
Stop Deportation
Provide Working Visa
Legalize all Undocumented Migrant Workers
Stop Workers Oppression!

Equality Trade Union-Migrants Branch (ETU-MB)
Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU)
Hanguk Migrant Worker's Human Rights Center, Incheon
Nepal Struggle Team
KASAMMAKO (Alliance of Filipino Migrant Organizations & Migrante Sectoral Party - Korea Chapter)

2003 / -1 / 1-
BASE21 News Desk

Labor | Science & ICT | Society | Human Rights
Copylefted by