South Korea is going to seek ways to extend the stay permits of the foreign workers in an attempt to relieve the labor shortages in the farming and other areas in the wakes of the coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun mentioned on Wednesday.

"(The government) will push for measures to lengthen the stay permits for foreign laborers and temporarily allow them to work in farming villages and so forth," the Prime Minister stated in a meeting.

Chung cited labor shortages reported in farming villages as one of the reasons for the envisioned measures, Yonhap news agency reported. "In view of COVID-19, farming areas are facing severe labor shortages ahead of the upcoming harvest season," he noted.

South Korea Trying to Extend Stay Permits of Foreign Workers

Chung Sye-kyun
Chung Sye-kyun Wikimedia Commons

The PM said many foreign workers are now unable to return home, despite their expired stay permits, due to their home countries' lockdown or cancellation of flights. If those workers' stay permits are extended, they can get seasonal jobs or work in farming houses, Chung said.

South Korea also plans to step up quarantine measures on sailors coming from Russia and other countries that are in Seoul's list of nations subject to tougher quarantine, the Prime Minister also said.

South Korea has so far reported nearly 90 imported cases tied to Russian ships docked in the country since June. It has placed six countries -- Bangladesh, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines, and Uzbekistan -- on the list of such high-risk countries in an effort to contain imported cases.

(With agency inputs)