The South Korean government held a meeting of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters for COVID-19 on Friday and decided to normalize the entry of foreign workers with the E-9 visa into the country. The government has banned the visa issuance to five countries with high COVID-19-related risks, which are the Philippines, Pakistan, Myanmar, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan. With the new measure, it will be resumed.
However, for foreign workers from the five countries to arrive in South Korea, they must have received vaccines approved by the World Health Organization more than 14 days ago. They also should get a PCR test at a hospital designated by South Korean diplomatic offices and receive a negative test result during the 72 hours before a scheduled flight.
Those from other countries, including China and Vietnam, can enter South Korea as long as they have a negative PCR test result, regardless of their vaccination status. However, they should complete vaccination in South Korea. In addition, foreign workers from all countries entering South Korea should self-quarantine for 10 days at facilities run and managed by the government.
The government also removed the limit on the number of new foreign workers allowed to enter the country. So far, the limit was 100 per day and 600 days per week.
With the new measure, about 50,000 foreign workers who have been on the waiting list in respective countries will enter South Korea. Given the procedures to enter the country, such as vaccination in home countries and visa issuance, new foreign workers will be able to enter as early as the end of November, according to the Ministry of Employment and Labor.