|▲ Jeju based lawyer Moon Geon-sik has an interest in legal rights for foreigners living on the island Photo by Moon Geon-sik
In the third of a series offering help with legal issues, Jeju-based lawyer Moon Geon-sik takes a look at when a worker on an E-9 visa can change their workplace.
First of all, let’s take a look at a possible scenario where a worker would want to find a new job.
Imagine Mr. A is a foreign worker in Korea. After receiving a legitimate employment permit pursuant to the 'Act on Foreign Workers Employment’, he entered Korea and started to work.
Unfortunately, due to financial and management difficulties, Mr. A’s boss notified Mr. A of his intention to end his employment. This leaves Mr. A in Korea but without a job.
The question is now, as it was not his fault that he has lost his job, can Mr. A move to a new company?
According to article 25 of the ‘Act on Employment of Foreign Workers’, in situations where any of the following events occur, a foreign worker may file an application for a change of workplace:
If the employer intends to terminate the employment contract during the contract period, or intends to refuse renewal of the employment contract after its expiration on a justifiable ground.
Where the Minister of Employment and Labor gives ‘Public Notice’, as he deems, under a social norm, that the foreign worker is unable to continue to work in the place of business on a ground not attributable to him, such as temporary shutdown, closure of business or his employer's violation of terms and conditions of employment or unfair treatment.
To put it simply, if a worker ends up losing their job due a situation that isn’t their fault, they should be able apply to change their workplace.
Some things to think about are that a foreign worker is not usually allowed to change their place of work more than three times in the three year period.
However, cases where the foreign worker is not responsible for the change in workplace, are not included in the count of workplace transfers.
In our example, because financial and management difficulties are responsible for Mr. A losing his job, he is allowed to transfer to another place of work.
A difficulty that can arise is that sometimes there are differences between the claims of the employer and the claims of the foreign worker.
If this is the case, when the evidence is insufficient a change of workplace can be permitted by the consultation of ‘Councils for Protection of Rights and Interests of Foreign Workers’ (Public notice of the Minister of Employment and Labor, January 20, 2016.)
Of course, this column is just a general introduction to the law so individual cases should be reviewed separately.
※ The employment Permit System is mainly applicable to non-professional foreign workers(E-9 visa). Foreign workers may work for three years after entry into Korea (At the employer’s request, a two-year extension period may be granted).