SEOUL, June 14 (Yonhap) -- The government will push for a speedy influx of immigrant workers to help alleviate labor shortages in farming, fishing and other industries in the wake of COVID-19, officials said Tuesday.
Farms, fisheries and small-size firms, often reliant on immigrant workers, have been experiencing labor shortages in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, as heightened border controls curbed the inflow of immigrant laborers.
The Ministry of Labor and Employment said that it will bring in some 26,000 immigrant workers, who received Korean work permits but were unable to travel to the country, between this month and August.
From September until December, the ministry seeks to bring in an additional 28,000 immigrant workers.
Including some 19,000 foreign workers who have already entered South Korea this year, a total of some 73,000 immigrant workers are expected to arrive in the country this year, the ministry noted.
In 2019, the annual number of immigrant workers arriving in South Korea stood at 51,336, but the figure nosedived to 6,688 the next year and 10,510 in 2021 due to the pandemic.
The ministry will also streamline part of the administrative procedures for employers of immigrant workers while increasing nonscheduled flights from countries like Indonesia, Nepal and Myanmar to help immigrant workers better travel to the country.
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