Posted March. 12, 2009 07:55,
The ruling Grand National Party said yesterday that it is seeking to exempt from the draft youths working at overseas construction sites for more than three years.
The partys committee for maintaining, creating and sharing jobs will hold a meeting today at its headquarters to push a project to this end.
A key party official said, The project will not only address youth unemployment and labor shortages for construction companies but also help earn foreign currency.
The party will send a bill on the measure to the National Assembly next month after consulting with the government. When the bill is approved, young people will be deployed to overseas construction sites as early as the second half of the year.
The envisioned project will benefit up to 5,000 youths, the party said. To exempt them from military service, however, the military service law needs revision.
Under a substitute military service law, draft exemption is allowed for researchers working at think tanks or key defense industries designated by the Military Manpower Administration, and those working as skilled industrial personnel.
The law does not apply, however, to skilled industrial personnel working abroad. So the ruling party is working on a revision to expand the scope of skilled industrial personnel to include those working for overseas industries.
Among overseas industries, only construction is expected to be included in the revision to attract youths from low-income households.
In 1973, when the country was hit by its first oil shock, workers at construction sites in the Middle East got exempt from military service.
The substitute military service law will expire in 2012, so the party is considering operating the project on a temporary basis while the economy is in recession.
Details of the project could change, however, in consultations with government agencies such as the Military Manpower Administration.