Korea Times Kang Shin-who
The Ministry of Labor plans to help migrant workers who have overstayed their visas due to delayed salaries. The ministry Tuesday announced that it will visit immigrant detention centers and help those who have had difficulties in getting their salaries from companies they worked for.
The ministry said it will provide legal counselors to help retrieve the money in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice.
If the ministry finds foreigners who have overstayed their visas due to such circumstances, it will put priority in retrieving the unpaid salary and then take action on the overstayed visa, as according to a policy ``first pay, second overstay notice.''
In cases where the companies are unable to pay the migrant workers, the ministry said it will guarantee the payment will be made via an online bank account even after they leave Korea.
In addition, the ministry plans to regularly visit large detention centers for illegal immigrants in Hwasong, Kyonggi Province, and Chongju, North Chungchong Province, to care for foreigners who are waiting to receive their salaries.
The migrant workers will get advice on filing lawsuits, if needed, from the Korea Legal Corporation, a state-run organization that provides a legal aid system for those who are unaware of the legal system in Korea.
``Migrant workers who are branded as undocumented foreigners cannot easily appeal the injustices caused by such companies. That's why we decided to help them get paid,'' Chang Eui-sung, an official of the ministry said.
``The foreign workers also need to take more aggressive actions against companies who refuse to pay their salaries by reporting them to the proper labor authorities,'' he added.
Meanwhile, about 13 million won, the salaries of four migrant workers who were killed in a fire at an immigration office in Yosu, South Cholla Province last month, was paid to their families, the ministry said.
Currently, there are a total of 425,107 migrant workers in Korea. Among them, 238,213 are documented and 186,894 or 44 percent are here illegally as of the end of last year.