Mr. Jonathan Hicap wrote in his article on Manila Bulletin that South Korea will not raise the EPS workers age limit. He was able to ask the question during a foreign press meet with the Speaker Chung Sye Kyun. Read the full story on Manila Bulletin.
The reason cited on the news article is the increasing unemployment in South Korea that now stands at 3.6 percent or about 986,000 people.
Early in the year, Ambassador Raul Hernandez suggested a raise in the EPS workers age limit to 45 instead of the current 38. The Philippines is one of the 15 countries that send EPS workers to South Korea. It is also has the fourth largest EPS workers in Korea ~ more than 25,000. It is not clear whether the other countries have supported the raise in age limit.
Different countries sending workers to the EPS have different policies. Some countries have agreements to send workers in agriculture, fishery, construction and manufacturing. Others require employers to pay national pension while others do not.
The frustration of the Filipino EPS workers is the age limit. Once they reach it, they couldn’t apply to work in Korea anymore and some resort to staying illegally, working without protection from abusive employers and not eligible to receive benefits such as health insurance.
Not everyone who passes the EPS-TOPIK (the Korean test for those who’d like to work in the EPS sector) are able to work in South Korea. Thousands apply for this test and pass and they still have to wait until they are chosen by an employer. The lucky ones get chosen early while the unfortunate ones would never have the chance to work in South Korea. It is a risk that one has to take. Remember that the Philippines is not the only country that sends workers to South Korea.
Though EPS workers could only stay for a limited time with a minimum of 3 years, they could stay in South Korea for longer that time legally. It may be difficult but not impossible if they could get the E7 visa.