Little room for foreign workers in South Korea The Samsung Economic Research Institute has suggested the South Korean government takes measures such as setting a foreigner employment quota for companies to follow and making racial discrimination illegal. Korea is Asia's fourth-largest economy but its foreign workforce makes up less than 5 per cent of the national total. Part of the reason for the low foreign numbers is the country's strict employment laws. Foreign employees must find a new job within two months of leaving their old one before being termed illegal. Also, labour contracts must be renewed yearly. Another hurdle for foreign workers is the cultural gap. Korea was closed to the outside world for so long that it is still a fairly homogenous society, which translates into fewer opportunities for foreign employees to climb through the ranks of an organisation there. G8 summit focuses on labour inequality While economics is often the topic of discussion when G8 members meet, the most recent summit, which took place in Niigata, Japan, focused heavily on labour inequalities. Some issues under discussion were ways to rectify regional inequalities and how member countries are coping with ageing populations. The French delegation stated that their government was imposing higher taxes on companies that put pressure on senior employees into taking early retirement and slapping financial penalties on firms that failed to rectify gender gaps in wages. On the sidelines, Japanese government delegates met with company managers and labour union representatives on the issue of temporary workers. The recent trend in Japan has been to hire temp workers over full-time employees to reduce costs. However, when younger temp workers age, they find themselves stuck in the workplace without a specific skill, making it difficult to find full-time jobs.