Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III has directed the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to commence processing of the deployment of workers to South Korea following the announced lifting of restrictions on the entry of foreign workers there.
“This is very good news not only to our entry permit system (EPS) workers and their families but also to the Korean employers who have been waiting for our workers to return,” Bello said.
On Friday, Korea’s Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) announced that it will allow the entry of workers under its EPS from all sending countries, including the Philippines before the end of this month.
Bello said that the lifting of restrictions for EPS workers is a much-awaited development for thousands of EPS workers who have been waiting for their deployment since last year.
According to MOEL, the entry of EPS workers will be subject to pre-entry measures such as full vaccination and negative PCR test results, and post-entry measures such as mandatory quarantine and PCR testing.
The Korean Embassy in the Philippines said that it is awaiting guidelines from the South Korean government on the issuance of E9 visas to Filipino EPS workers following the announcement from MOEL.
Bello directed the POEA to immediately meet with the HRDK EPS Center in the Philippines to flesh out the requirements and procedures for the safe and orderly entry and re-entry of EPS workers to Korea, in coordination with the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in the Philippine Embassy in Seoul.
Since 2004, the Philippines has been sending Filipino workers to Korea under a government-to-government cooperation agreement on EPS. The deployment of workers, however, was temporarily halted due to Korea’s entry restrictions since June 2020 as part of COVID measures.