Employment Permit System (EPS)

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Launching Internet service : Issuance of career certificates for foreign workers

From whom : Foreign workers under the EPS

Web site : EPS English and multi language homepage (http://www.eps.go.kr/)

How to apply and print the Certificate of Career

1) Foreign workers need to sign up http://www.eps.go.kr/ with their passport number or registration number of EPS - TOPIK.

2) After successful log-in, foreign workers are able to check their designated test date and venue for a skill test and its result after finishing the test, current status of a labor contract and to print the certificate of career.

3) Information of contract and current address must be written in English.

4) Purpose of a career certificate issuance should be filled in (Only in English)

5) Application of the issuance is limited only once and the number of available print copies is limited as 5 copies.

      If a worker want another copies of career certificate more than 5, he/she should visit EPS center or a regional branch  of HRD Korea then request additional issuance of career certificates.
     A worker can apply the issuance of career certificate by visiting a regional branch of HRD Korea with his/her passport also (instead of application via internet)

Available from : Friday, July 15, 2011


1. Definition of Employment Permit System for Foreigners

The Employment Permit System allows employers who have failed to hire native workers to legally hire an adequate number of foreign workers and is a system that the South Korean Government uses to introduce and manage foreign workers in Korea in an organized manner.

The Government of South Korea commenced the EPS on 17th August 2004 with six countries namely Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Mongolia, Thailand and Sri Lanka.

The Industrial Trainees System (ITS) which had been operating since 1994 incurred more cost to get foreign workers and it also took more than two months to get down foreign workers. The ITS was designed to provide training opportunities to foreigners with the purpose of enhancing economic cooperation by transferring technology and skills to developing countries. The Industrial Trainees were introduced to foreign investment enterprises and general small & medium sized businesses. This system was abolished with effect from 01/01/2007 and only EPS is operating now with fifteen (15) countries to recruit foreign workers to Korea.

As at the end of August 2004, authorized manpower sending agencies of six countries namely Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Mongolia, Thailand and Sri Lanka signed MOUs with the Government of Korea to dispatch manpower. The Human Resources Development Services of Korea with approximately 70 offices nationwide systematically manages foreign workers through a computer network system for foreigners.

Website:  www.eps.go.kr

02. EPS Implementing Agency in Sri Lanka:

Ministry of Foreign Employment
Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE)
234, Denzil Kobbekaduwa Mawatha, Koswatta, Battaramulla

Tel:  +94 11 2864101-105
Fax: +94 11 2864141
Website: www.slbfe.lk

03. Main Objectives of the EPS

•  Construct efficient employment management system for foreign workers

•  Apply identical labour conditions and human rights similar to the native workers

•  To prevent absurdity, the government selects and invites foreign workers

04.Permitted categories of employment under EPS

Under the Employment Permit System, foreign workers are restricted to be employed in 5 business industries given below.

•  Manufacturing Industry

•  Construction Industry

•  Agriculture Stockbreeding - Farm Products Cultivation, Stockbreeding

•  Fishing Industry - Coastal Fishing, Off-Shore Fishing, Aquaculture

•  Service Industry -
Refrigerated Warehousing, Restaurants, Business Support Service, Social Welfare, Sewage Disposal, General Repair Services of Motor Vehicles, Nursing, Household Service etc.

05. Legal status of foreign workers In Korea,

foreign workers under the EPS will have to adhere to the labour related laws during the period of employment similar to the native workers. This includes laws such as the Labour Standard Act, Minimum Wages Act, Industrial Safety Health Act etc. Household service workers are exempt from labour laws.

A foreign worker is subjected to the benefits of employment and worker’s compensation insurance (Employment Insurance, Worker’s Compensation Insurance Act, and Article 14 of the Employment Permit System Act: health insurance), and may subscribe to the national pension fund (National Pension Fund Act).

A foreign worker shall not be discriminated against as a foreign worker (Article 22 of the Act: Prohibition of Discrimination), and shall be subject of relief from the Ministry of Labour.

The foreign workers shall have 5 years employment in Korea, and shall not be accompanied by family members during the period of employment. The foreign worker shall depart the country after a term of employment of 5 years.The recent amendments to the labour law in Korea abolished the compulsory departures after completion of 3 years employment and re-entry after one month,  instead the workers can continue their employment for five years. This facility was introduced with effect from December 2009 as a remedial measure to overcome the illegal stay of foreign workers.

05.01 Minimum Wage System:

This means that the state determines the minimum standard of living for workers and mandates the employer to pay that amount. The minimum wage as at December 2010 was 4,110/- won per hour and 928,860/- won per month.

05.02       Working Hours:

The working hours are determined under the Labour Standard Act as 8 hours a day and 44 hours a week. This law is applicable to a workplace with 5 employees or more.

05.03       Recess time:

In the event that the working hours amount to 4 hours, a recess time of 30 minutes or longer has to be provided, and in the event that the working hours amount to 8 hours it shall be one hour or longer.

05.04       Limits of Overtime Work:

There has to be an agreement between the parties for overtime work and it is available for 12 hours a week for male workers and 6 hours for women workers. For overtime work, the overtime payment with the added allowance of 50% of the ordinary wage has to be paid. However, for workers employed in agriculture or livestock and fishery sectors, this regulation does not apply.

05.05       Holidays and Vacation:

An employer shall provide a paid holiday of one day for any worker who comes to work for a certain number of working hours in the month. A worker who attended work for 80% or more in a year shall be granted with a paid vacation of 15 days, and an additional one day of vacation for every two years.

05.06       Menstruation leave:

A day of the month shall be given for menstruation leave to protect the health of female workers.

06. Insurance schemes for foreign workers

There are four types of insurance schemes under the EPS.

01.         Departure guarantee insurance: The employer should obtain this insurance coverage on behalf of the foreign worker if the worker has completed one year or more to pay gratuity when he/she leaves the work place.

02.         Guarantee Insurance: The employer should obtain this insurance coverage on behalf of the foreign worker to ensure the of wages workers against the delay of payments.

03.         Return Cost Insurance: The foreign worker has to obtain this insurance coverage to meet the expenses of his/her return journey.

04.         Casualty Insurance: The foreign worker has to obtain this insurance coverage to claim compensation in the event of an accident, sickness, disability or death.

07. Counselling and Grievances handling

If a foreign worker experiences problems or receives unfair and unreasonable treatment while employed in Korea, the foreign worker may refer to an ombudsman institution for assistance.

07.01 Labour Supervision Division of the regional labour office:

-          For non-payment of wages, retirement allowance and other labour related maters.

-          For the acts of violence committed at the place of employment by the manager and others.

-          For non-compliance with working hours, mandatory work and others.

07.02 Industrial Safety Division of the regional labour office:

-          For health and safety in the workplace.

07.03 Employment Service Centre:

-          Management of the changing workplace and the employment brokerage of foreign workers.

-          Reception of reporting for employment, breaking away, departure and others of foreign workers.

-          Issuance of various verification documents required during the stay.

07.04 Language support – Counselling centre of the Ministry of Labour:

-          For language support, civil counselling and problem processing and other information.

07.05 Labour Commission:

-          For relief on unfair dismissal and others of foreign workers whose rights are abused by their employers.

08. Information on Immigration Control for foreign workers

-          Prohibition of activities: A foreign worker is prohibited from any activity other than stays for non-professional employment. Therefore, it is impossible for them to conduct individual business, language teaching and others, other than for the employment activity of a permitted occupation.

-          Change of employer: In the event of having a valid reason, the change of workplace is allowed only after applying to the Employment Service Centre and obtaining the relevant permit.

-          Extension of period of stay: When a foreign worker renews the labour contract and requires an extension of stay, a permit for extension has to be obtained from the immigration office

-          Registration of foreign workers: A foreign worker registration has to be done within 90 days from the date of entry at the immigration office.

-          Report of change of place of stay: This should be reported to the immigration office that has jurisdiction over the place of stay within 14 days.

-          Compulsory departures: Compulsory departure may be enforced to foreign workers if;

o   He/she does not have a valid passport or visa

o   Enters Korea on false invitation or a similar act

o   Acts regarding matters that are not permitted during the stay

o   Violates the immigration Control Act of Korea or if released after imprisonment

-          No entry is applicable for persons:

o   Infected with a contagious disease, suffering from drug addiction or recognized as a danger to public health

o   Attempts to enter with illegal weapons, guns, swords or explosives

o   Having substantial potential to harm the safety of the public

o   Having mental disorder or not elapsed 5 years from compulsory departure order.

09. MOU signed

In order to prevent illegal activities involving the manpower services, the Government of Korea enters into the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) directly with manpower sending countries.

Accordingly, the Government of Sri Lanka signed an MOU with the Republic of Korea in June 2004 and renewed it subsequently.

10. Selection criteria & qualifications for applicants

The applicants having following qualifications are eligible for Korean employment and these qualifications are required by the Government of Korea.

•  The applicant should be a Sri Lankan citizen

•  Age between 18-39 years

•  Should be in good health (a medical report is needed)

•  No criminal records (a Police clearance report is needed)

•  Not banned from leaving the country / entry to Korea

•  Secondary level school education

•  Height 5’ 2” for male and 4’ 8” for female

•  Weight 50 kg for male and 40kg for female

11. Selection Procedure

•  All applicants should pass the Employment Permit System-Test of Proficiency in Korean (EPS-TOPIK) conducted by the Ministry of Labour Korea and the SLBFE which needs Korean language training for prospective jobseekers prior to the test.

•  Announce KLPT in mass media and issue admissions for the test.

•  Passers can submit job applications to the SLBFE and the SLBFE then calls them for Interviews to identify the eligible applicants

•  Send for medical examinations

•  Call for Police clearance reports

•  Final selection

•  Register the qualified applicants and transfer their data to Korea through the Internet. (roster in EPS website)

•  Employers in Korea select the workers and send contracts of employment through the internet and then the SLBFE informs them and get the confirmation of acceptance.

•  Provide pre-departure residential training and complete the sending formalities

•  Send the workers to Korea after giving them a final briefing for a successful employment

12. Pre-departure training for job seekers

12.01 - Training for contract received jobseekers:

All foreign workers who enter Korea for employment under EPS should undergo this pre-departure preliminary training. This training covers Korean language, understanding of Korean culture and EPS, industrial safety and special subjects of each industrial sector of employment daily physical training.

12.02 - Jobseekers for Korean language proficiency test (KLPT):

The SLBFE has taken steps to conduct training on Korean language for prospective Korean jobseekers island wide.  The trainees are provided with all necessary materials such as Korean language books supported with the Sinhala language, audio cassette pieces, sample test papers and answer sheets. One training program is conducted for twelve days full time and it covers minimum of 100 teaching hours.

There are 32 local Korean language teachers recruited by the SLBFE and they have been provided with required training to develop their teaching skills and provided with lesson plans and syllabus.

13. KOICA assistance

The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) provides assistance to teach the Korean language for job seekers despatching their Volunteer teachers. KOICA has provided 8 such volunteers so far. They assist to develop the course modules and manuals as per the syllabus provided by the HRDS Korea.

14. Korean Language Proficiency Test

The applicants who seek employment in Korea after 31st August 2005 should pass the Korean Language Proficiency Test as a compulsory requirement. So far eight such tests have been conducted in Sri Lanka in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012.