All South Korean companies hiring foreign manual workers will be required from later this year to subscribe to the departure-expiration insurance to pay their retirement benefits, the labor ministry said today. Owners of smaller firms hiring at least five foreigners with E-9 or H-2 visas are currently required to subscribe to the departure-expiration insurance to ensure that retirement benefits are paid before the departure of a worker.

Those visas are given to foreign manual workers hired under the country”s “employment permit system.” The Cabinet approved a bill expanding the coverage of mandatory subscription to companies with four or less alien workers, the Ministry of Employment and Labor said.

The revised enforcement ordinance to the law on the employment of foreign workers is set to go into effect on August 1 as no parliamentary consent is necessary, it said.

South Korea hires some 40,000 foreign workers every year through the employment permit system to resolve chronic manpower shortage in the sectors of manufacturing, agriculture, livestock and fishing farms.

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