Life and Career Balance for Migrant Workers in South Korea with Venus Avelino; Episode 4

Life and Career Balance for Migrant Workers in South Korea with Venus Avelino; Episode 4 The Jason V. Holmes Podcast


Whether you’re looking for your first job, inter-career development, or transition, you need far more than career intelligence and content knowledge to meet the standards and the balance required to thrive in today’s life and career environments. In this episode, I’m joined by Venus Avelino, a bank loan consultant and an education planner in South Korea. Venus has been living in her career for 18 years, and her mission is to help transnational workers and other people in South Korea apply and get loans to achieve their dreams or support their families back at home. 

For most people, a career refers to the part of their life that is concerned with employment. However, career and life balance can be hectic, especially for migrant workers who work under extreme conditions for more hours and low payments. 

There are about 1,570,000 long-term foreign residents in Korea, and out of the numbers, only about 646,000 workers are legally documented, and they work in small to medium enterprises. Most Koreans consider such jobs dirty, dangerous, and complicated. Since they are highly educated, they get good jobs in big corporations, like your Samsungs, your LGs, and whatnot; this leaves a high rate of vacant blue-collar jobs given to the immigrants.

Employment and working conditions of the migrant workers

Most of the immigrant workers in South Korea are from southern Asia countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, Thailand, Vietnam, and China. They work in small and medium industries in manufacturing, fishing, agriculture, and construction. The working conditions of these jobs are not easy for them because they are demanding, complicated, and sometimes dangerous. They also work for long hours, and some of them are forced to work overtime for training or to earn more income.

Benefits That Migrants Get From Working In Blue-collar Jobs

There are many benefits for the immigrants get in doing the blue-collar jobs, unlike if they stayed in their own countries, where it’s hard to earn. From it, they can support their families and access loans that they can use to support their families at home and invest in their dreams and goals like building their houses, buying land, starting a business, or educating their children. Additionally, they also get the opportunity to work overtime to make more income.

General Requirements For Migrants To Get Access To Loans

All the legally documented migrant workers in South Korea are enrolled through a program set up by the government known as Employment Permit System to work in blue-collar jobs in SME companies. To get access to loans from money lending institutions, they have to submit all the required documents, including Alien Registration Card (ARC), valid passport, labor contract, employed contract, and six-month salary account transaction statement from the bank as established by immigration law.

The loans that the individual migrant workers can qualify for depends on their visa length; the longer the period, the more loan they can be eligible for. However, those from class A countries (from Southern Asian countries) like Nepal, Cambodia, and the Philippines, can get higher loans of up to a maximum of 20 Million Won. 

The Risk To High-interest Loans Offered To Undocumented Immigrant Workers

Loans from banks and other money lending institutions have a stable interest, and the legally documented migrants can get loans with interest ranging from 8-17% annually depending on the lending institution they get them. However, the legal ID holders also help the illegal aliens with loans in the friend’s circle, and they give high interest with 10% interest per week. Getting loans from banks remains the only authentic path for migrant workers to benefit and grow.

Embracing Multi-culture And Diversity To Benefit Careerism  

The immigrants help meet the massive demand for labor in the industrial sector, the economy benefits, and they also benefit, which is a win-win for everybody. However, when they aren’t successfully integrated, this can result in discrimination and inhuman treatment. Recognizing and embracing diverse cultures involves openly embracing the migrant workers and recognizing them and their families in official discourses, such as education, healthcare, and other sectors.

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