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Overview of Supporting Foreign Workforce Employment

Korean government enacted the Act on the Employment, etc. of Foreign Workers in 2003, and introduced the Employment Permit System (EPS) in 2004, to resolve corruption in the process of sending and receiving workers, and illegal work, illegal stay, and human rights issues of the trainees after introduction, which occurred during the process of operating foreigner industrial trainee system that was implemented as a part of the economic cooperation with Asian countries.

With introduction of the EPS, HRD Korea was commissioned the tasks such as composing and managing foreigner job seekers roster, supporting the arrival and departure of foreign workers, employment training, business agreements with sending countries, and agency business for the employers.

HRD Korea staffs residing in the 16 sending countries perform supporting tasks related to sending foreign workers in connection with the HRD Korea headquarters, such as receiving applications from foreign workers for EPS-TOPIK, implementing the test, providing employment counseling, and monitoring pre-departure training. Additionally, overseas EPS centers cooperate with sending country governments in order to improve the system by shortening the procedural period of foreign workers introduction, as well as reorganizing EPS site (www.eps.go.kr), which is a foreigner employment management system. Additional tasks of HRD Korea's overseas EPS centers include strengthening monitoring of the sending counties such as pre-departure training, executing selection tests of job seekers, providing departure support, and other local instruction and inspection activities during the whole process of dispatching workforce.

Sojourn support service for foregn workers is also implemented in full scale to support life in Korea. Services include supporting worker's adaptation  to their workplace, preparing for return, and employment placement after return. The stages after preparing for return are holding local employment fairs such as Job Festivals in the sending countries, job placement, and vocational education, to head toward the direction of strengthening follow-up management services for the foreign workers.

In order to efficiently implement EPS-TOPIK, since test organization had been unified to HRD Korea in 2006, the following major projects were carried out: Computer Based Test (CBT) was expanded; NCS-based textbooks were reorganized for the quality management; basic job related questions were included, and special King Sejong Institutes were expanded.

Point-Based selection system, which was introduced in 2015, could be evaluated as the system that fundamentally improved the foreign worker selection system by reflecting the demands of employers. The previous selection system was based on Korean language skills, and basic skills evaluation as the supplementary material, but the point system subdivides into micro-assessment of the job seeker, and comprised of EPS-TOPIK, Skills Test, and vocational ability.

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