700 job seekers barred from travelling to South Korea

700 job seekers barred from travelling to South Korea

(Bangkok Post photo)
(Bangkok Post photo)

About 700 job seekers have been barred from travelling to South Korea to search for work illegally during the first 10 months of fiscal 2017, Employment Department director-general Waranon Pitiwan said.

The job hunters often entered South Korea in tour groups on tourist visas, he added.

Mr Waranon said that following an instruction from Labour Minister Sirichai Distakul, the checkpoint for screening job seekers at Suvarnabhumi airport has kept a close watch on Thais travelling abroad, particularly to South Korea, in tour groups with a tourist visa.

During the first ten months of fiscal 2017 (October 2016 - August 2017), about 700 have been barred from leaving the country, he said.

Mr Waranon said these job seekers mingle with genuine tourists in group tours to South Korea. If they manage to get through the immigration checkpoint, they will be taken by job agents to work illegally in that country.

With the tourist visa, they can stay in South Korea for 90 days.  When the visa is near to the expiry date, they return to Thailand to renew the visa and go back to South Korea to work.  Some of them continue to stay in the country after the tourist visa has expired.

Most travel to South Korea after being contacted online in the social media by the job brokers, without knowing them in person, Mr Waranon said.  Some receive lower pay than earlier promised, while others end up being lured into prostitution.

Mr Waranon said the Employment Department has regularly issued warnings to job seekers not to trust job agents who contact them online.  They are advised to go through government-approved legal channels.

Thailand has signed a memorandum of understanding with South Korea to send workers under the Employment Permit System (EPS), he said.

Mr Waranon said those found working illegally in South Korea will be arrested and slapped with a heavy fine.  They will also be blacklisted from entering the country.  This will deprive them of job opportunities and tarnish Thailand's image, he said.

Those wanting more information on this matter can contact employment offices in all provinces or call a hotline on 1694.

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