The Ministry of Labor has warned Thais wanting to seek employment in South Korea to pre-register themselves before departure, warning that abandoning tour groups after arriving in the country will result in prosecution and damage bilateral relations.
Since South Korea opened its borders to tourists in April, there have been allegations of Thai nationals fleeing tour groups to seek jobs in South Korea. The government has since tasked the labor ministry with addressing the issue.
When South Korea opened its borders to tourism in April, visitors could enter without a visa if they applied for a Korea-Electronic Travel Authorization (K-ETA) prior to their arrival. Initially, Jeju Island visitors were not required to register for pre-travel authorization.
According to South Korean officials, many Thai workers have since taken advantage of this travel exemption to enter South Korea, but have been denied entry at the border and sent home. As a result, any Thai passport holders visiting Jeju Island must now obtain a K-ETA.
Authorities have also warned that illegal job hunting in South Korea could harm bilateral cooperation, particularly in the labor sector.
Every year, Seoul allows a limited number of Thais to work in specific industries, and those seeking employment can do so through the official Employment Permit System.
According to the present agreement, Thai workers between the ages of 18 and 39 who are free of congenital and transmissible diseases and have no criminal records are entitled to apply for employment in South Korea via the EPS. Applicants must also pass a Korean language proficiency test prior to being granted entry into the country. (NNT)