A three-man mission from South Korea visited the country to improve the hiring processes and deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) for the growing Korean economy under that country’s Employment Permit System (EPS), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) today said.

Labor and Employment Secretary Patricia A. Sto. Tomas welcomed the South Korean delegation and assured the country’s full cooperation and support as this would boost human resources cooperation between the two economies.

On behalf of Sto. Tomas, DOLE Assistant Secretary Jeffrey D. Cortazar formally welcomed last week the three-person mission representing the Human Resources Development Service of Korea (HRDS-Korea) composed of Dr. Chung-Bok Lee, the managing director; Woo Hyun Kin, director of the foreigner’s training management division; and Kyung-il Min, director of the foreigner’s employment bureau.

Some 900 OFWs had been initially deployed to South Korea following the passage and effectivity of that country’s EPS Law last year.

In 2003, Sto. Tomas also forged a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Labor of South Korea during an official visit to Seoul that successfully established a framework for human resources cooperation based on the EPS. Subsequently, at the 92nd International Labor Conference (ILC) in Geneva, Switzerland, she cited South Korea for employing OFWs “at terms and conditions similar to that of their South Korean counterparts.”

Cortazar conveyed to the visiting South Koreans the labor and employment chief’s appreciation to the South Korean government for pushing steps favorable to the employment OFWs and other migrant workers.

The assistant secretary assured the human resources mission from South Korea of the DOLE’s full support and cooperation to that country’s efforts to improve the processes in the deployment of OFWs needed in the Korean economy.

In turn, the South Korea HRDS mission indicated that their country is moving to strengthen the EPS significantly via its proposed integration with the country’s foreign Industrial Trainee System (ITS). The ITS, originally, had been set up by South Korea to contribute to international economic development while addressing the foreign manpower needs of South Korean companies.

HRDS-Korea managing director Dr. Chung-Bok Lee apprised Cortazar of the specific steps that South Korea has taken, consistent with the EPS, to improve the processes and boost the opportunities for OFWs. Lee apprised Cortazar that a Korean language and proficiency course shall be required of OFWs starting next year. Cortazar said, however, that OFWs have been required to take a crash course on the Korean language prior to their deployment to South Korea.

Lee voiced his opinion that, as the Korean economy grows, the EPS quota for OFWs shall “definitely increase.”

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