Today, we got 'Concluding observations of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights' on S.Korea.

among the recommendations,

20.        The Committee is concerned that migrant workers are subject to exploitation, discrimination and unpaid wages.

The Committee recommends that the Employment Permit System that has already recognized migrant workers as workers entitled to Labour Law protection be further reviewed. The Committee recommends that particular attention be paid to the fact that the three month period stipulated for a change in job is highly insufficient. This is especially true in the current economic situation, in which migrant workers often have little choice but to accept jobs with unfavorable work conditions just to remain regular.  The Committee further recommends that the State party uphold the High Court’s decision to grant legal status to the Migrants’ Trade Union.

other recommendation related to migrants are following:

9.        The Committee is concerned that a comprehensive anti-discrimination law has still not been adopted by the State party, due to the fact that the Anti-Discrimination Bill submitted to the seventeenth National Assembly in December 2007 was discarded without consideredation. The Committee is further concerned that the present version under assessment by the task force “does not exclusively enumerate anti-discrimination grounds, but rather stipulates a list of typical anti-discrimination grounds as example” and that it only contains certain grounds for discrimination excluding others that had been indicated in the original Bill such as nationality and sexual orientation. (Art 2)

The Committee urges that the State party adopt expeditiously a comprehensive anti-discrimination law which clearly spells out all the grounds for discrimination, as set out by Article 2.2 of the Covenant and in line with the Committee’s General Comment no. 20 (Non-Discrimination in Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (art. 2, para. 2).

The Committee is concerned about the difficulties faced by applicants for refugee and asylum status due to long waiting periods for processing their applications.  The Committee remains concerned about the extremely low rate of recognition of refugees and asylum seekers by the State party, as well as by the still lengthy process to obtain the recognition of their status.

The Committee recommends that the State party make further efforts to shorten waiting periods for the recognition of refugee and asylum seeker status by:

(a)        providing the adequate resources for the implementation of the revised Immigration Control Act and its Enforcement Decree, including an increase in the number of immigration officers;

(b)        standardizing asylum procedures;

(c)        systematically collecting data on refugee and asylum seekers

The Committee requests the State party to include information on measures adopted in this regard, including statistics on the granting of refugee and asylum status, in its next periodic report.

11.        The Committee remains concerned that foreign spouses married to Korean nationals are still dependent on the latter for their residency status (F-2). (Art. 2)  

The Committee recommends that the State party make further efforts to overcome the discrimination faced by foreign women married to Korean nationals by empowering them to acquire residency status or naturalization without being dependent on their husbands.  

15.        The Committee remains concerned that an increasing number of workers are excluded from receiving the minimum wage and that the minimum wage legislation does not apply to all sectors in spite of the amendment of the Minimum Wage Act in 2005, which expanded the application of the legal minimum wage.  (Art. 7)

The Committee recommends that the State party take all appropriate measures to ensure that the minimum wage is effectively enforced,  and that it provide workers and their families with an adequate standard of living in accordance with article 7, paragraph (a) (ii) of the Covenant. The Committee also recommends that the State party extend the applicability of the minimum wage legislation to those sectors where it still does not apply and intensify its efforts to enforce legal minimum wages through increased labour inspections and fines or other appropriate sanctions for employers who fail to comply with the minimum wage legislation. The Committee also recommends that the State party ensure that changes in the calculation of the minimum wage to take into account deductions for meals and accommodation presently under consideration do not disproportionately affect migrant workers.

23.        The Committee is concerned that, notwithstanding the fact that the State party legislation penalizes trafficking not only for prostitution or sexual exploitation but for any profit purpose, a high number of women and children continue to be trafficked from, through and within the country for purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labour, especially women workers originally arriving on an E6 visa (entertainment). The Committee is particularly concerned about the low number of prosecutions and convictions of traffickers. (Art. 10)

The Committee recommends that the State party intensify its efforts to combat trafficking in human beings, especially women and children, for any purpose, inter alia, by:

(a)        strengthening monitoring of issuance of E6 visas

(b)        supporting programmes and information campaigns to prevent trafficking

(c)        providing mandatory training for law enforcement officials, prosecutors and judges on anti-trafficking legislation

(d)        increasing the provision of medical, psychological and legal support to victims.

(e)        ensuring an effective complaint mechanism for migrant workers regardless of their immigration status, and

(f)        fully investigating cases of human trafficking and ensuring justice

35.        The Committee encourages the State party to consider signing and ratifying the UN International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (Migrant Workers Convention).