The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) remains optimistic that the number of Filipino workers who are illegally staying in South Korea will decrease so that the Philippines would be able to achieve an increase in the quota of the Employment Permit System (EPS) there.
“I have high hopes that our EPS quota will increase because of our EPS performance has been consistently good as reported to me,” DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said, referring to reports from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).
The POEA is an attached agency of the DOLE.
POEA records estimate that 8,247 Filipino EPS workers are illegally staying in South Korea.
As of March this year, the total number of Filipino workers deployed in South Korea had reached 35,936, three percent of which had returned to their Korean employers after coming home at the end of the EPS stint.
In Korea, the returning EPS workers are called as “committed” or “sincere” workers.
Meanwhile, Baldoz highlighted the huge reduction of Filipino illegal workers in that country.
She said the government has recorded a 7.9-percent decrease in their number.
She said 22.7 percent of the Filipino workers there in 2013 were illegal, down from 30.6 percent in 2012.
“This is a good sign that our aggressive strategy of addressing the issue of illegal staying EPS workers in South Korea is bearing fruit,” Baldoz said.
The EPS memorandum of agreement is valid for two years and is renewable. Since 2004, the Philippines and Korea have renewed the agreement three times, twice under Baldoz as POEA administrator.
The Korean government adopted the EPS to introduce non-professional foreign workers in its small and medium industries under a transparent and efficient process of selecting, sending and receiving foreign workers through a government-to-government arrangement.
For 2014, the POEA said the Philippines has 8,000 or 100 more than last year’s quota.
POEA Chief Hans Leo Cacdac said the 2014 “ceiling” for new comers to Korea’s manufacturing industry under the EPS is 4,700 or 500 more than the ceiling in 2013.
“While most of the 15 sending countries under the EPS have received a reduced quota due to the reduction of the overall quota for EPS of 53,000, the Philippines is an exception and this is, indeed, a good sign,” said Cacdac.