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Government to extend senior population and foreign workers’ participation in labor market to cope with population decline Updated: 2019-09-18 16:28:54 KST


At a meeting Wednesday chaired by finance minister Hong Nam-ki, the population policy task force, set up back in April, unveiled measures to expand the working age population.
In Korea, private sector workers have to retire when they turn 60.
But these measures will mandate that companies keep people on the payroll after that age by either extending their retirement age, getting rid it or rehiring people who've just officially retired.
The government will also provide bigger financial incentives to businesses that voluntarily hire or rehire senior citizens.
South Korea has the lowest fertility rate in the OECD at zero.9-8 and is aging rapidly. The low birthrate and aging population means a shrinking labor force.
In other areas, the government will review whether Korea has an appropriate number of teachers and military personnel because the number of people who can attend school or serve in the military is shrinking. The military will look into taking on more women, reducing the size of its standing forces and reorganizing to focus on science and technology.
Also, to increase the working-age population, the government will look to improve the visa system and give incentives to foreign workers.
The new visa system will be designed to attract highly educated and talented foreigners and give them more benefits, like allowing them to bring their families and stay in Korea longer. Foreign workers who wish to stay in the countryside, where the population is shrinking, will get even more incentives.
Foreign students and skilled workers in depopulated regions can get advantages for acquiring permanent residency and enjoy shorter processing times when re-entering the country. The government estimates these measures for foreign workers can create 160 million U.S. dollars worth of revenue.
Lee Min-sun Arirang News.
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