South Korea will seek ways to extend stay permits for foreign workers here in a bid to relieve labour shortages in farming and other areas in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said on Wednesday.
"(The government) will push for measures to lengthen the stay permits for foreign labourers and temporarily allow them to work in farming villages and so forth," the Prime Minister said during a meeting.
Chung cited labour 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 labour shortages ahead of the upcoming harvest season," he noted.
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.