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Migrant workers affect employment, wages for locals

All News 17:29 January 23, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 23 (Yonhap) -- The increase of migrant workers here has negative influences on the employment and wages of their local counterparts, particularly female and middle-aged or older workers, a think tank report said Monday.

According to the report titled "The Effects of Foreign Workforce on Labor Market" submitted by the Korea Labor Institute (KLI) to a debate forum, the number of migrant workers in the country stood at 962,000 as of last year.

Of them, 46.5 percent worked in the mining and manufacturing industries; 19.2 percent in the service industry; and 19 percent in the wholesale, retail, food and lodging industries, the report said.

The influx of foreign workers negatively affected the hiring of local female workers especially, with the increase of foreign workers to locals by 1 percentage point resulting in a 01.15 percent noticeable decline in the employment of local female workers in the food and lodging industries, according to the report.

The increase of foreign labor has a negative effect on the wages of local workers as well.

The rise of migrant workers by 1 percentage point led to a decrease of 0.2-1.1 percent in the wages of local workers, chiefly female and middle-aged or older workers, the report said.

"Strengthening steps to protect local workers are needed, including the levying of allotments to be borne by employers of foreign workers and the introduction of a labor market test on how much employers try to find locals first," Lee Kyu-yong, a senior KLI researcher, said.

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