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DISPOSABLE LABOUR: RIGHTS OF MIGRANT WORKERS IN SOUTH KOREA

DISPOSABLE LABOUR: RIGHTS OF MIGRANT WORKERS IN SOUTH KOREA

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Published by khulaw
See page 30, explaining how E-2 visa foreign teachers, E-6 visa foreign entertainers, and E-9 visa foreign laborers are all subject to the same HIV testing scheme. These tests are conducted on foreign resident workers in Korea on a repeat basis making Korea one of only about 6 nations in the world with such restrictive HIV policies in place for foreign workers.
(See "Expats and HIV: Stop the stigma," Korea Herald, December 19, 2009. Available at http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/NEWKHSITE/data/html_dir/2009/12/04/200912040006.asp)

"HIV testing
In order to qualify for work under the E-6 entertainment work scheme, applicants
must prove that they do not have HIV. The highlighted area in figure 3 shows that a
'certificate of HIV test' is one of the required documents for E-6 applicants to submit
to the South Korean government. Among the foreign workforce in South Korea, they,
along with those under the E-9 and E-2 work schemes, are singled out by the
government in its discriminatory policy of mandatory disclosure of HIV status. South
Korean workers are not required to test for HIV in order to apply for similar positions
in the entertainment sector or low-skilled industries."

This Amnesty International document is also available here: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA25/001/2009/en/8bc729f6-39d7-4ce9-aeab-86eea173451c/asa250012009en.pdf

A Korean language version is available here:
http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA25/001/2009/en/dfa09af9-0a2e-4811-a197-78f7fbd298a1/asa250012009ko.pdf
See page 30, explaining how E-2 visa foreign teachers, E-6 visa foreign entertainers, and E-9 visa foreign laborers are all subject to the same HIV testing scheme. These tests are conducted on foreign resident workers in Korea on a repeat basis making Korea one of only about 6 nations in the world with such restrictive HIV policies in place for foreign workers.
(See "Expats and HIV: Stop the stigma," Korea Herald, December 19, 2009. Available at http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/NEWKHSITE/data/html_dir/2009/12/04/200912040006.asp)

"HIV testing
In order to qualify for work under the E-6 entertainment work scheme, applicants
must prove that they do not have HIV. The highlighted area in figure 3 shows that a
'certificate of HIV test' is one of the required documents for E-6 applicants to submit
to the South Korean government. Among the foreign workforce in South Korea, they,
along with those under the E-9 and E-2 work schemes, are singled out by the
government in its discriminatory policy of mandatory disclosure of HIV status. South
Korean workers are not required to test for HIV in order to apply for similar positions
in the entertainment sector or low-skilled industries."

This Amnesty International document is also available here: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA25/001/2009/en/8bc729f6-39d7-4ce9-aeab-86eea173451c/asa250012009en.pdf

A Korean language version is available here:
http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA25/001/2009/en/dfa09af9-0a2e-4811-a197-78f7fbd298a1/asa250012009ko.pdf

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Published by: khulaw on Apr 03, 2010
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10/25/2011

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In a June 2009 report on the health and welfare of irregular migrant children in South
Korea, the Migrant Health Association in Korea (MHAK)291

found that premature
births accounted for the majority of their medical treatment cases, which it attributed
to the marginalisation of irregular migrant labourers:

“As most migrant parents are living in poor working and economic conditions
cannot afford necessary prenatal care, premature births and related conditions
are common. Premature babies are especially often at risk of death or have
complicated illnesses. Even if their babies are in such serious condition,
[irregular] migrant parents cannot receive active medical treatment for their
babies and at times have had to stop treatment and send their children to their
home countries.”

Moreover, the irregular status of migrant workers unfairly places them and their
children at greater health risk. MHAK stated that most irregular female migrant
workers “lose their jobs when they are pregnant, which is the main reason they cannot
complete medical treatment for their sick children”. Because they are not insured
and some cannot afford the higher premium for medical care, their children do not get

289

“Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Mission to the Republic of Korea
(5-12 December 2006)”, UN Doc. A/HRC/4/24/Add.2, 14 March 2007, para24.

290

Amnesty International interview with ZL in Busan, South Korea on 9 November 2008.

291

A non-governmental organization working on migrants’ right to health and wellbeing.

Disposable Labour: Rights of migrant workers in South Korea

Amnesty International October 2009

AI Index: ASA 25/001/2009

79

the medical treatment they need.

Some parents must resort to sending their children

to their countries of origin for adequate health care.292

Under article 24(2) of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, South Korea is
obliged, among other things, to “take appropriate measures… to diminish infant and
child mortality”. Amnesty International is concerned that South Korea is failing to
comply with this key obligation in regard to irregular migrant workers and their
children.

In January 2009, the Ministry of Justice deported an infant Chinese girl born
prematurely in October 2008 with congenital deformity, along with her parents who
were irregular migrant workers. The baby had hyperdactylia, cleft lip and palate, skin
problems on the head and around the anus, and hypoplasia of abdominal walls
coming out of her internal organs. The hospital requested financial support from the
district office, city government, and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Family Affairs,
but it was told that the baby was not eligible for financial support due to her irregular
status.293

As state party to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, South Korea must
“respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present Convention to each child within
their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child's or his
or her parent's or legal guardian's race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or
other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other
status”.294

This includes children of all migrant workers, both regular and irregular.295

292

MHAK, “Report on the Health Status of Undocumented Migrant Children in Korea”, Submitted to the
Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants on the occasion of the 11th

Session of the Human

Rights Council, June 2009, pp4-6.

293

MHAK, “Report on the Health Status of Undocumented Migrant Children in Korea”, Submitted to the
Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants on the occasion of the 11th

Session of the Human

Rights Council, June 2009, p6.

294

Article 2(1).

295

In particular, articles 2(1), 3(1,3), 6, 24(1,2) and 28(1).

Disposable Labour: Rights of migrant workers in South Korea

Amnesty International October 2009

AI Index: ASA 25/001/2009

80

“I don’t want any other Filipino women coming to South Korea under these
circumstances. We came here to work as singers not to sell drinks or prostitute our
bodies. The E-6 entertainment work scheme itself is deceptive.”

RP, a 24-year-old Filipino E-6 worker
Songtan, South Korea296

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