South Korea to hire fewer OFWs in 2013

By Mayen Jaymalin, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 19 2013 09:05 AM | Updated as of Jan 19 2013 05:05 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The South Korean government will hire fewer overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) this year in a bid to avert the increasing number of Filipinos illegally staying there, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) reported yesterday.

POEA chief Hans Cacdac said Seoul has already announced plans to reduce by at least 1,000 the number of Filipinos it will hire in 2013.

“The Korean Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) decided to reduce the number of newcomers allowed to work in Korea this year to 4,200 from 5,200 in 2012,” he said.

Cacdac noted that Korea also opted to include only 7,900 OFWs as applicants, way below the 9,800 names included last year in the list of workers who may be hired.

“The Philippines may eventually lose a favored destination as the number of illegally staying OFWs continues to rise,” he said.

Despite South Korea’s decision, Cacdac said, the Philippines has no plans to appeal the plan to slash the quota for OFWs. He said the Philippines has to abide by an agreement between the Philippines and Korea that provides that the MOEL take measures to reduce the number of Filipinos illegally staying in Korea.

Cacdac said the POEA has been advising Filipinos in Korea against not finishing their employment contracts and opting to stay there illegally. He appealed to OFWs in Korea to complete their employment contracts and just return to seek new employment.

OFWs must help the Philippine government in reducing the number of illegally staying Filipinos in Korea so that the country could get a higher quota for workers in the next years, he said.

Since 2004, the Philippines has deployed to Korea about 30,000 OFWs, most of whom worked in the manufacturing sector.