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Report/Press release

South Korea: "Migrant Workers are also Human Beings"




Amnesty International, International Secretariat


p. 21: Under the EPS migrant workers who want to change workplace continue to face severe
restrictions. For example, migrant workers can change their jobs no more than three times
and only with the permission of the employer.
Migrant workers are unable to change jobs
because of health problems that prevent them from continuing to do a particular job, or when
they have suffered human rights violations in a particular workplace unless it (serious health
problems and/or human rights violations) has been officially reported.
A recent study
showed that the majority of migrant workers interviewed (81.8 per cent) found it difficult to
change workplaces under the EPS. In some cases, their situation became even more difficult
after they highlighted abuses by their employers which made them want to change jobs.

Document number


Number of pages


Responsible institution

Amnesty International


p. 43: ****: (recommendation to Korean government)

Address the lack of labour mobility of migrant workers which is a major reason for
human rights violations and also for forcing migrant workers to become
undocumented migrant workers. Work permits should not be tied to one single
employer, as this is a major cause of human rights violations

p. 4: ***:

Amnesty International’s research has shown that under the EPS system, migrant
workers, in practice, have very limited scope for changing their workplace. This can
seriously hamper their ability to lodge complaints about abuses because they fear
antagonizing their employers or because they fear losing their jobs and thereby losing their
legal status to work in South Korea. There are also reports that employers have seized
official documents, including passports and work permits, preventing migrant workers
from looking for jobs elsewhere

p. 22: ***: Given this ever-present risk of dismissal and deportation, migrant workers often consider they have no choice but to accept poor working conditions and are less likely to seek to exercise fully their


Economic sectors

General relevance - all sectors

Content types

Policy analysis, Documented cases of abuse, Statistics on work and life conditions, Numbers of migrant workers, and Systemic/state violation of right/freedom

Target groups

(Im)migrants workers, Policymakers, Public awareness, and Employers, agencies and their representatives

Geographical focuses

South Korea