16,000 OVERSTAYING OFWS GET REPRIEVE IN SOUTH KOREA

Manila, April 15, 2003 -- Some 16,000 Filipino workers overstaying in South 
Korea have been allowed to work there until August.

Acting Labor Secretary Manuel Imson said the 16,000 have registered under 
the Ministry of Justice's Voluntary Repatriation Program.

Imson said the workers were supposed to return to the country last March 
but their stay was extended by the new administration.

Efforts are underway to legalize the stay of some 70,000 overstaying 
Filipinos in South Korea as the new Korean government is keen on passing a 
bill that will legalize their stay.

The Department of Labor and Employment, citing a report from Reydeluz 
Conferido, labor attaché to Seoul, said the new administration of President 
Roh Moo Hyun, is pursuing passage of work permit bill.

Conferido said Roh, who recognizes the serious need of Korean small and 
medium enterprises for foreign workers, supported the bill when he was 
still a legislator.

He added the passage of the bill is being actively pursued by the 
Philippine Embassy there with the help of the United Nations Development 
Program, International Organization for Migration, other labor attachés and 
legislators from the ruling Millennium Democratic Party.

Imson said the South Korean Ministry of Justice is keen on revising its 
immigration laws to allow foreigners with simple technical service jobs to 
legalize their stay. (Cheloy Garafil, Malaya)

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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