Migrant Forum in Asia
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Statement Concerning the Pilot Project for Introducing Filipino Caregivers to South Korea


On May 2nd, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) of the Philippines announced that it would be recruiting 100 Filipino caregivers under the Employment Permit System (EPS) pilot project between the Philippines and South Korea. The project aims to provide caregiving assistance to eligible Korean households with infants or young children, pregnant women, single parents, or working couples.


While the project aims to address the growing need for caregiving services in South Korea, there are several concerns regarding its implementation and potential impact.

Discrepancy in Terminology : The project has been referred to as both a “caregiver” and a “domestic worker” project, leading to confusion and potential misinterpretation of the roles and responsibilities of the Filipino workers.

Lack of Clarity in Scope of Work: The project’s scope of work seems to encompass both domestic work (cleaning, cooking, laundry) and caregiving (childcare, eldercare, support for pregnant women). This lack of clarity could lead to exploitation and underpayment of Filipino workers.

Potential for Discrimination: The project could exacerbate existing discrimination against migrant workers, particularly low-skilled domestic workers. The emphasis on English proficiency and higher education could lead to a system that caters to high-income households, further marginalizing vulnerable migrant workers.


The introduction of foreign domestic workers must be done in a way that respects the rights and dignity of all workers, both domestic and migrant. We urge the government and the Seoul Metropolitan Government to reconsider the current pilot project and develop a more comprehensive and equitable approach to addressing the need for caregiving services in South Korea.


In light of these concerns, we demand that the government and the Seoul Metropolitan Government:

  • Clearly define the scope of work caregivers in the contract for the pilot project, ensuring that Filipino workers are not subjected to exploitation or underpayment. The scope of work should differentiate between caregivers and domestic workers. The contract should also specify minimum and maximum hours of work for caregivers.
  • Contracts should specify that it is not mandatory but voluntary for caregiver to assist in other duties and light household management activities to avoid situations that give rise to overwork and exploitation.
  • Address the issue of discrimination by ensuring that the project does not further marginalize low-skilled migrant workers.
  • Prioritize the welfare of both domestic and migrant workers by implementing policies that promote fair wages, decent working conditions, and access to social protection for all workers.

Joint Committee with Migrants in Korea (JCMK)
Unlad Kabayan
Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA)
Lawyers Beyond Borders Philippines
Kanlungan Center Foundation
Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA)


Download the full statement in PDF: Statement Concerning the Pilot Project for Introducing Filipino Caregivers to South Korea

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MFA is a regional network of non-government organizations (NGOs), associations and trade unions of migrant workers, and individual advocates in Asia who are committed to protect and promote the rights and welfare of migrant workers.

It is guided by a vision of an alternative world system based on respect for human rights and dignity, social justice, and gender equity, particularly for migrant workers.

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