13,000 undocumented foreign workers caught in South Korea this year
Construction industry said to have regulatory loopholes when it comes to employing
By Park Si-soo
South Korea’s justice ministry has caught 13,255 undocumented foreign workers and 2,549 Koreans who hired them this year.
They were apprehended in two joint intensive crackdowns on undocumented foreign workers and their employees, held March 6-May 15 and September 4-November 17. The crackdowns were conducted with 658 officials from four government bodies — the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Employment and Labour, the National Police Agency and Korea Coast Guard.
The arrested foreigners were deported or ordered to leave the country, while the Korean employers were fined up to 20 million won (US$18,370), according to the justice ministry.
The manufacturing industry was the most vulnerable to employing illegal foreigners with 3,291 found in the two crackdowns, followed by the construction industry with 1,861 and the entertainment industry with 1,093.
The data found that the construction industry has major regulatory loopholes, with the number of violators caught this year up 63.1 per cent from last year.
“We will conduct a crackdown on undocumented foreign workers and their employers regularly to ensure that the local job market runs in a rightful and transparent manner,” said a justice ministry official.