Public Seasonal Workforce Project is to Address Labor Shortage in Rural Areas
Public Relations Division
From April, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (Minister Kim Hyeon-soo, MAFRA) will implement the public seasonal workforce pilot project to address labor shortage in rural areas, where Nonghyups selected by local governments hire foreign seasonal workers and provide them to farms which require short-term workforce for less than a month.

Public seasonal workforce project is a pilot project to support rural workforce. With this project, four local governments (Muju and Imsil in North Jeolla Province, Buyeo in South Chungcheong Province and Goryeong in North Gyeongsang Province) will introduce 320 foreign seasonal workers.
*Quota(320): Muju (100), Imsil (40), Buyeo (100), Goryeong (80)

From January, MAFRA conducted the feasibility study of the project by considering the operator, the size of participating farms and fees born by farms, etc. in cooperation with si∙gun (local governments). Also, the Ministry had on-site reviews of accommodation and separate facilities to be used by migrant workers. The results of the selection of project subjects were submitted to the Ministry of Justice. The subjects will be finally confirmed at the Allocation Review Commission for foreign seasonal workers, presided by the Ministry of Justice on February 25.

Previously, only farms could directly hire seasonal foreign workers for 3 months (C-4) or 5 months (E-8). As a result, farms which needed short-term labor for less than one month could not easily hire them.
In order to address this, the government decided to introduce the pilot project of public seasonal workforce where Nonghyups selected by the local governments can hire foreign seasonal workers and then provide them to farms which need short-term workforce for less than a month, through the institutional improvement at the end of last year.

For the public seasonal workforce project, Nonghyups selected by the local governments will hire and pay the salaries for foreign workers. Meanwhile, a farming team including a Korean person in charge will provide workforce to a farm which need a worker for a short period of time. A seasonal worker will stay at accommodation prepared by the local government and work for farms participating in the project on a rotational basis. A farm will pay the fees, pre-determined through the consultation among the local government-Nonghyup-farm, to Nonghyups.

‣ (Operator) Local governments or Nonghyups (selected by local governments) (Central Agricultural Cooperation (“Joonganghui”), Nonghyup Corporations (“Jogongbeopin”), and local Nonghyups)
‣ (Operation Method) A local Nonghyup selected by the local government hires foreign seasonal workers, form a team including a Korean manager, and provide foreign staff to farms which need workforce*.
* Introduction and Provision of Agricultural Workforce in accordance with the Article 57, paragraph 1, and subparagraph 2 of the Act on the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation
‣ (System) The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs receives the local government’s application for the pilot project∙selects subjects and supports the operation.
Local governments will mobilize participating farms, prepare ways of supporting accommodation∙ transportation and detailed measures to provide staff (the order of allocating workforce to farms, level of salaries, etc.) conclude the memorandum of understanding and introduce foreign migrant workers.
Operator (Local Nonyhyups) will conclude labor contracts with foreign migrant workers, manage common accommodation facilities, and form working teams including a Korean manager, providing workforce to farms.

Director Lee Deok-Min of the Business and Human Resource Development Division of MAFRA said, “The Public Seasonal Workforce Pilot Project will be an effective measure to meet the short-term demand of fruits and vegetables farms during the busy farming season. MAFRA will closely cooperate with and support relevant ministries and local governments for the successful implementation of the pilot project.”