Politics

Philippines welcomes South Korea’s lifting of visa restrictions on foreign workers

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THE PHILIPPINE Labor department on Sunday welcomed South Korea’s decision to lift its visa restrictions on foreign workers under a so-called employment permit system (EPS).

In a news release, the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) said the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration was already directed “to commence processing the deployment of workers to South Korea following the announced lifting of restrictions on the entry of foreign workers there.”

The decision is also “good news” to Korean employers who have been waiting for the return of Filipino workers, it said.

Citing South Korea’s labor ministry, DoLE said the entry of workers under EPS will be subject to pre-entry measures such as “full vaccination and negative PCR test results.”

They will also be required to undergo mandatory quarantine, it added.

“The Korean Embassy in the Philippines said that it is awaiting guidelines from the South Korean government on the issuance of E9 visas to Filipino EPS workers following the announcement” from South Korea’s Ministry of Employment and Labor, DoLE said.

Since 2004, the Philippines has been sending Filipino workers to Korea under a government-to-government cooperation agreement on EPS, the agency said.

“The deployment of workers was temporarily halted due to Republic of Korea’s entry restrictions since June 2020,” it explained. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza