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Local gov'ts believe support centers for foreign workers can better protect them from COVID-19
Updated: 2021-10-13 07:57:17 KST
Local governments, like Gangneung City in Gangwon-do Province believe the solution to foreign workers' struggles living in South Korea amid the pandemic is providing more support centers, which teach Korean and offer both labor counseling and medical aid.

"Most of the foreign workers here don't speak Korean well so if the center opens, it'll be a good chance for us to learn the language."

Communicating effectively in Korean is tough for many foreign workers living in the country, and in some cases, this has hampered epidemiological investigations and led to the unnecessary spread of COVID-19.
Gangneung City says support centers can solve the issue by giving officials a better grasp of what foreigners' day-to-day lives look like.

"COVID-19 made us start the project. It's a preemptive measure to examine the actual conditions foreigners work under and to get them vaccinated."

The facility still needs approval from the city council.
But Gangwon-do Province's first support center has already opened in Wonju, and nationwide, there are more than forty centers currently being operated by local governments and the Ministry of Employment and Labor.
Amid a labor shortage caused partly by an aging society and shrinking local population, the welfare of foreign workers is an issue that will need addressing even after the pandemic is over.
Han Seong-woo, Arirang News.
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