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First Filipino domestic helpers to arrive this summer: ministry

By Lee Jaeeun

Published : April 19, 2024 - 13:17

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The South Korean government on Friday announced its plans to bring in 100 Filipino household helpers in July and deploy them as early as August.

The Ministry of Employment and Labor said that discussions with the Philippine side on the plan for a pilot program for Filipino domestic workers have been completed. The Philippine government plans to post a job opening for 100 Filipino domestic workers willing to work in Seoul within this month.

As Filipino workers are mandated to undergo initial and follow-up interviews, health checkups, and Korean language tests, they are projected to be able to enter South Korea around July, according to the Labor Ministry.

Upon their arrival, they will undergo four weeks of Korean language and culture training. Consequently, they are expected to be deployed on-site in August, according to the ministry.

Earlier last year, the Ministry of Employment and Labor stated that it plans to recruit around 100 foreign domestic workers in 2023 using the E-9 visa on a pilot basis, in the “Pilot Plan for Non-professional Employment Visa (E-9) for Foreign Domestic Workers.”

The E-9 visa is issued to citizens of Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, East Timor (Timor-Leste), Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Uzbekistan and Vietnam to do "nonprofessional" labor.

Currently, E-9 visa holders can only work in the agriculture, fisheries, manufacturing, construction sectors, restaurants serving Korean food, hotels and resorts, forestry and mining. However, the program will be expanded to include domestic services like child care and housekeeping.

The pilot program will be initially limited to Seoul, and it will initially only accept Filipino nationals.

Specifically, a Korean government-certified domestic service provider will hire foreign workers, and they will commute to and from the homes assigned by the agency. They are subject to the same labor laws as Korean nationals, such as the Domestic Workers Act, and are guaranteed a minimum wage.

To cover the additional costs of housing, transportation, and interpretation, the Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to provide a budget of 150 million won ($117,000).

The Labor Ministry plans to fine-tune the policy after the six-month pilot.