President orders review of ‘foreign domestic helpers’…what will it say?

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President Yoon Seok-yul has mentioned the introduction of foreign domestic helpers as one of the solutions to the country’s declining birthrate. The remarks came during a closed-door meeting of the Cabinet on the 23rd. A review by relevant ministries is expected to begin.

Currently, the hiring of domestic helpers is legally restricted to South Koreans and Chinese compatriots, and the idea of hiring foreigners from Southeast Asia, where wages are relatively low, has been discussed.

The idea of hiring foreign domestic helpers has been discussed in the media and in government circles, but this is the first time President Yoon has mentioned it.

It seems that he intends to overcome the problem of low birth rate, which is 0.78 and shows no sign of rebounding, by first reducing the burden of childcare.

■Presidential Office “will collect public opinion” as part of birthrate measures

Participants in the cabinet meeting noted that “the issue of foreign domestic helpers was not the main topic of discussion at the cabinet meeting,” but that the president has in effect ordered a review of the system, so the results will have to be seen.

“It seems that the president is talking about utilizing female labor and addressing the declining birthrate,” one participant said, referring to Singapore, where the use of low-wage foreign live-in helpers has become commonplace, “and Japan has also recently decided to hire foreigners for caregivers.”

Of course, the introduction of the system has not been finalized right away, and it is expected to go through a public opinion gathering process.

Earlier, on March 28, Social Minister Ahn Sang-hoon said, “We will continue to communicate with the field through polls and FGIs (focus group interviews), and create measures that people can feel,” at the first meeting of the Committee for a Low Birthrate and Elderly Society in seven years.

Rather than one-time measures, he said, we need to create policies that the public agrees with and needs in order to be effective.

At that meeting, President Yoon emphasized that “many countries consider the population issue to be a security issue and consider it important,” and that “the declining birthrate is not just a welfare issue, but a national issue that requires deeper consideration by all ministries.”

With this presidential directive, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Employment and Labor will be in charge of reviewing the system.

When asked when the system will be outlined, an official from the presidential office said, “Nothing is set in stone yet,” but given the far-reaching implications of the issue, there will be considerable interest in the outcome.

Seoul to pilot foreign domestic helpers in the second half of the year

Some localities have decided to introduce foreign domestic helpers before the presidential order. Seoul.

The Ministry of Employment and Labor is preparing a pilot project to introduce foreign domestic helpers in Seoul, and plans to hire about 100 people in the second half of the year. The plan is to add “domestic helpers” to the list of permitted industries for non-professional work visas (E-9) and hire foreigners with proven Korean language skills through authorized agencies.

The E-9 visa, which allows for a three-year stay and a two-year extension, is mainly issued to foreigners working in manufacturing plants, agricultural and livestock farms, and cannot be changed without the consent of the business owner. Rather than creating a new visa system, Seoul will utilize the existing system first.

Seoul Mayor Oh has also formally advocated for the introduction of foreign domestic helpers.

At a cabinet meeting in September last year, Oh proposed the introduction of foreign domestic helpers and instructed the Seoul Institute to collect cases from overseas. On the same day, Mayor Oh said, “A childcare assistant that costs 2 million to 3 million won per month in Korea costs 380,000 to 760,000 won per month as a foreign domestic assistant in Singapore.” “We need to minimize the number of cases where people give up their jobs and careers for their children.”

If the minimum wage is applied, it will cost 2 million won per month…”Labor exploitation”-“expensive”

However, public opinion is not always favorable. There are also several objections.

First, there is the issue of wages.

Unlike Singapore and Hong Kong, South Korea applies a minimum wage to foreign domestic workers. At this year’s minimum wage (9,620 won), the monthly salary is around 2 million won.

This amount has been criticized as low-wage labor exploitation, while others say it is more expensive than it should be.

Representative Choi Jeong-hoon, who introduced a bill to introduce foreign domestic workers, also argues that a system that does not apply the minimum wage should be introduced. According to him, if foreigners are hired under the status of “domestic employer,” an exception to the Domestic Workers Act that came into effect last year, they can set their wages regardless of the minimum wage.

According to the Ministry of Employment, Labor and Welfare, a “domestic worker” is a worker who performs domestic work related to a person’s private life without a formal labor contract. They are not covered by the law because it is difficult for the state to supervise their working hours or wages.

In an interview on MBC radio today (April 24), Cho said, “The average income of a woman in her 30s is 2.7 million won. This means that they give all of their salary to their foreign helpers.” “Domestic helpers themselves are willing to come and work for 700,000 won to 1 million won, but when they come to Korea, they have to pay 2 to 4 times that. They say it’s not for메이저놀이터 high-income earners, but for middle-class working couples.”

However, it is clear that not having a minimum wage will have a number of side effects and criticisms.

For starters, neither national laws nor international commitments allow for differential wages for foreigners.

The current minimum wage law applies to “all establishments employing workers”. Furthermore, the International Labor Organization (ILO) stipulates that workers should be treated equally regardless of their nationality and race (Conventions 100 and 111), to which South Korea is a signatory.

Singapore, which is often cited as an example, does not have a minimum wage system, and while foreign domestic workers are paid relatively low wages, they are required to pay for medical expenses, social insurance, job placement fees, and independent living space that meets legal standards.

It has also been pointed out that the introduction of a foreign domestic worker program without adequate preparation may expose them to sexism and racism.

There is also the issue of job losses for domestic middle-aged and elderly women.

In August last year, the Ministry of Employment and Labor issued an explanatory document stating that “domestic service jobs are typical of middle-aged and elderly women’s jobs, and there is a risk of domestic job loss if the introduction of foreign workers is expanded.”

In addition, working conditions in the same industry may deteriorate, and foreign domestic workers who enter the country as domestic helpers may be able to work in higher-paying industries.

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