농촌지역의 고령화와 과소화로 인해 농업부문 노동력 공급구조가 변화해왔다. 이와 더불어 임금 상승은 인력부족 문제를 더욱 심화시키고 있다. 이에 대한 해결책 중 하나로 외국인을 고용하고, 고용 규모도 해마다 증가하고 있지만 농업부문 외국인 근로자와 관련된 연구는 단편적이고 미흡하다. 따라서 농업부문의 외국인 근로자 고용관련 실태에 근거하여 해당 제도 및 정책 집행 과정의 전반적 연구가 필요하다.
이에 이 연구는 기존 관련 연구와 제도 및 정책을 정리하고, 외국인 근로자 고용실태에 대한 각종 통계자료를 조사·분석하였다. 그리고 농업부문 외국인 근로자 고용 관련 쟁점을 정리하였다. 끝으로 이러한 제도상의 한계점과 미비점을 개선하는 정책과제를 제시하여 계절적 노동 수요 농가와 연중 수요 농가의 안정적 노동력 공급 방안을 모색하였다. 이 과정에서 가용통계의 한계를 극복하고 농업현장을 반영한 정책과제를 제시하고자 외국인 고용정책 관련 법무부·고용노동부·농림부 3개 부처, 계절근로자제 시행 7개 지자체 그리고 고용센터 담당자를 찾아 의견을 교환하였다. 이와 더불어 외국인 고용농가, 인권단체 담당자의 면접조사도 수행해 현장의 의견도 반영하였다.
Research Background and Purpose
"It is too hard to find a worker to hire for farming," is common words among farmers. It is a reality that farmers face in rural areas. One might say that if you raise wages, you can find a worker to do farming more easily. However, it is difficult to find a person to work for farming in rural areas during farming season. It is due to the decrease of farm households and the lack of young workers in rural areas. According to the National Statistical Office (NSO) data, farm households declined by 27.4% between 1995 and 2015, while aging of farm households continued to progress rapidly in the same period, reaching 53.5% in 2015. It has decreased the pool of agriculture manpower.
The agricultural labor force consists of the family workers and the paid workers. The data indicates that both the number of family workers and the paid workers declined between 2012 and 2014 without substitution. Wages increased by about 13% during the same period. It suggests that farmers are faced with “double squeezes”―the lack of labor force in farming and increasing costs owing to higher wages.
The causes of this labor shortage can be analyzed from two perspectives. The first view is that the labor shortage is caused by a short-term imbalance between labor demand and labor supply in farming. This viewpoint insists that the labor shortage in farming will be alleviated by finding out and modifying the factors to bring out the imbalance. The other perspective is that the labor shortage arises from the structural problem in the agricultural labor market. Therefore, it is necessary to secure workers who did not belong to this labor market. A typical example is to use the migration of foreign workers. Based on this recognition, the Korea government devised a government-led Foreign Employment Permit System, which is to introduce foreign workers into the industries where the labor shortage is severe. Since 2004, the system has been applied to the agricultural sector.
Based on this system, the amount of foreign workers introduced in the agricultural sector is increasing every year. As of 2014, foreign workers account for 5.4% of the total workers summation of family workers and paid workers
in agriculture, accounting for 36.7% of the paid workers in agriculture. Their ratio is not negligible in the paid workers in farming.
Therefore, it is necessary to discuss the employment of foreign workers in the agricultural sector. However, most of the studies on foreign workers in the agricultural sector are mostly fragmentary and their discussions are insufficient.
The purpose of this study is to examine the overall process of the system and policy enforcement based on the actual situation of employment of foreign workers in the agriculture sector. Secondly, based on these results, policy tasks to improve the limitations and imperfections of the employment system for foreign workers in the agricultural sector will be suggested.
Research Scope and Method
In this study, we set up research scope for "agriculture", "foreign worker", and "region". Specifically, the term "agriculture" means the agricultural, livestock and agriculture-related services that are permitted to employ foreign workers in the Foreign Employment Permit System. "Foreign workers" in the agricultural sector means foreign workers who have legal status because this study focuses on the government-led foreign employment permit system and seasonal work system. Finally, this study includes both urban and rural areas, since the foreign workers of the agricultural sector can be hired in not only urban areas but also rural areas.
To achieve the purpose of this study, the literatures reviews, analysis of related data, interviews, case studies, and surveys are used as a research method.
Research Content and Main Results
In Chapter 1, the background and purpose of the research are explained. Previous studies are examined. They have focused on the foreign workers’ labor conditions of labor markets in the agriculture and livestock sector and have not given any insights into policy directions and tasks in the future. Therefore, this study analyzes the foreign workers’ labor conditions of the agricultural labor market more systematically and comprehensively.
In Chapter 2, we analyzed the changes of the agricultural labor force at macro level and micro level. On the macro level, we analyzed the changes in the labor force in farming by using the monthly data represented by working status. On the micro level, we analyzed the changes of hours of working at the level of farm households. The farm household labor input data is used.
In Chapter 3, we analyzed the system and status of foreign workers' employment. The background and structure of the policies, related laws, and relevant sub-policies were reviewed. The status of the supply and demand of foreign workers allowed in the system was analyzed through internal data on the Employment Permit System and internal data on seasonal foreign workers.
In Chapter 4, we analyze the level of employment of foreign workers in farm households by analyzing statistical data of the agriculture and fisheries census and foreign employment survey. Specifically, Chapter 3 analyzes the supply and demand of foreign workers within the system, and Chapter 4 analyzes the characteristics of the foreign workers in agriculture and the working conditions of the agricultural foreign workers.
In Chapter 5, based on the results of the previous analysis, we analyze the limitations of system design and the limitation in the process of applying the system into the field.
The inflow of foreign workers in agriculture through the government-led Foreign Employment Permit System alleviates the shortage of workers in agriculture, but the limitations remain in the policy design and application of it. Chapter 6 presents new alternatives and policy directions to complement the issues related to employment of foreign workers.
Researchers: Eom Jinyoung, Woo Byungjoon, Kim Yunjin
Research period: 2017. 1. ~ 2017. 10.
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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