For Korean businesses, it has become easier to tackle labor shortages by hiring seasonal migrant workers. 

This year, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) and the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) announced an ambitious strategy aimed at reinforcing the Foreign Seasonal Labor System. 

This initiative is aiming to combat persistent labor shortages in South Korea’s agriculture sector. It marks a discernible departure in the strategy for seasonal labor management. Furthermore, it shows a dynamic approach to regional labor demands.


What Is Korea’s Seasonal Worker Program (SWP)?


Korea’s Seasonal Worker Program (SWP) aims to tackle labor shortages during the bustling seasons of farming and fishing. Si, Gun, and Gu local government entities spearhead this program, enabling the legal hiring of foreign workers for brief periods.

The MOJ, together with other ministries, takes charge of determining worker allotments which occurs twice a year.

The entry process follows a meticulous path involving MOJ allotment, local government selection, and visa issuance by diplomatic missions abroad. 

This program assumes a pivotal role in mitigating labor shortages by furnishing a supplementary foreign workforce to meet the seasonal exigencies of the farming and fishing industries.

More information on the Seasonal Worker program can be found here.  


Prolonged Stay Duration for Seasonal Migrant Workers and Strategic Workforce Reinforcement 


Initially, the Seasonal Worker Program granted foreigners a stay of up to five months in Korea. 

However, the MAFRA and MOJ strategy involves an elongation of the permissible duration for seasonal migrant workers. The initiative seeks to shift from the existing five-month constraint to a broader eight-month span.

The purpose of this strategic adaptation is to address the labor shortages in critical industries. This showcases the government’s dedication to instilling resilience in the workforce. Additionally, it recognizes and rewards the contributions of seasonal workers who have been integral to Korea’s workforce.

While aiming to reinforce the Foreign Seasonal Labor System, the Korean Government strategically assigned an additional 12,869 seasonal migrant workers to 107 local governments. 

This allocation complements the prior assignment of 26,788 seasonal workers to 124 local governments in the first half of 2022.


Transforming Rural Labor Dynamics: Expansion of Public Seasonal Work Programs


The plan of the Korean Government revolves around expanding public seasonal work programs to make sure there’s a consistent labor supply in rural areas. It also wants to improve living conditions for these workers, making it easier for them to stay in South Korea for longer. 

Additionally, the Government plans to implement measures aimed at preventing unauthorized departures and enhancing the adaptability of seasonal workers. This will be done by establishing an information system for efficient seasonal worker management. 

Finally, the Government is set on providing support to improve the skills of seasonal migrant workers and build an empowering work environment.

The extension of stay durations and strategic workforce allocations is a practical move toward building a strong and lasting labor environment. These efforts show South Korea’s commitment to dealing with ongoing labor shortages in important sectors. 


Gain a Full Understanding of the Process of Hiring Seasonal Migrant Workers in South Korea


In a commitment to making the hiring process easier, we’ve crafted an in-depth guide on how to employ foreign workers in South Korea. Dive into a wealth of insights, legal considerations, and best practices to successfully navigate the process. Access the guide here. 


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