News/Korea: Kim Calls for Improving Human Rights for Foreign Workers

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Subject: News/Korea: Kim Calls for Improving Human Rights for Foreign Workers
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Wed May 24 2000 - 08:15:51 EDT


Kim Calls for Improving Human Rights for Foreign Workers
Korea Times, May 11, 2000

President Kim Dae-jung has called for improving the human rights of foreign
workers.

He made the remark as the Korean Immigration Office began an intensive
search for illegal foreign workers.

The Justice Ministry said the government will expel the foreign workers
from Korea if they are found to be overstaying their visa expiration date
or are without visas.

President Kim, during a meeting with key postholders of the ruling
Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) on Wednesday, cautioned Korean employers
not to exploit foreign workers or abuse their human rights just because
they are illegal alien laborers, MDP spokesman Chung Dong-young said.

As a democratic country advocating human rights, Korea cannot neglect
promoting human rights of foreign workers,'' Kim was quoted as saying.

According to the Justice Ministry, a total of 111,411 foreign workers are
here illegally but the figure is believed to be much higher than the
official statistics.

The ministry said illegal workers will not pay a penalty if they
voluntarily leave Korea this month but from June, they will be forcibly
deported after paying fines.

Employers who hire illegal migrant workers would face criminal prosecution.
As part of the steps to reduce the jobless rate, local firms would be given
500,000 won per month when they hire a Korean in place of foreign workers.
The incentive will be effective for six months until the end of this year.

In the meantime, President Kim urged the governing party to establish an
institutionalized mechanism to improve their rights.

He also said tax breaks and other incentives must be given to businesses
and corporations when they relocate their factories from the capital city
area to provincial areas in keeping with the government's policy to ease
the population density in Seoul and nearby cities.

Melanie Orhant <<morhant@igc.org>>
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