PETALING JAYA: All you need is a passport and about RM2,500 and you are set to work in South Korea.
FMT’s recent checks with employment agents find that landing a job in the republic is easy – if you are prepared to work illegally.
The agents said Malaysians would usually enter South Korea on tourist visas which last for three months, then stay on and work illegally.
One of the agents said those seeking jobs needed to hand over their passports and about RM2,500, and all would be “settled”.
The money is for accommodation, a two-way ticket and other fees.
“People are willing because they can earn up to RM10,000 a month. It does not include overtime,” said another agent.
The agent said those who went to work illegally would have to be careful not to be caught by immigration authorities.
“That is the risk. They have to constantly be careful. The chances of being caught are high.
“Sometimes, the immigration will raid the workplace to check if there are foreigners working illegally.
“If they get caught, they will be sent to a detention centre and blacklisted from entering South Korea for three years,” he said.
The agent also warned that those working illegally would have no compensation if they get hurt as they would have no insurance coverage.
Those who go to South Korea in search of jobs usually work on fruit or mushroom farms, factories, in logistics or as cleaners.
The Star recently reported that some Malaysians in South Korea were living like refugees, often hiding from enforcement authorities. They were among 5,000 Malaysians estimated to be working and staying illegally in the country.
The report said many of the Malaysians were stranded and living in poverty. Some of them had suffered permanent disability after workplace accidents and were broke and homeless after being fired by their employers.
They had gone to South Korea lured by job advertisements that claimed they could make good money. They paid recruitment agents thousands of ringgit in fees and entered the country on tourist visas, the report said.
A Malaysian, who wanted to be identified only as Afiq, is a “veteran” when it comes to working illegally in South Korea.
He told FMT that he had worked in the country at least three times using only his tourist visas.
Afiq said he could earn almost RM15,000 a month if he worked overtime.
He admitted that he was always on the alert for immigration raids and was careful about his movements.
“We have to keep our passports or any identification documents safely.
“If we apply for a work permit, we have to learn their language and pass the test first. If we fail, we have to repeat it.
“It is easier to go there under tourist visas. But the risk is high, as we are just like the Indonesians or Bangladeshis who work illegally in Malaysia,” he said.