Seoul scraps mandatory COVID-19 screening for foreign workers

Seoul and the neighbouring province of Gyeonggi were among the local governments ordering all of its foreign workers to be tested for COVID-19.
By: | March 24, 2021
Topics: Covid-19 | News | South Korea

Authorities in the South Korean capital of Seoul have announced it will scrap a controversial order mandating all foreign workers to be screened for COVID-19. 

This comes after the move sparked complaints of discrimination. The National Human Rights Commission also confirmed that it was investigating if the policies of several local governments were discriminatory or violated any human rights. 

Seoul and the neighbouring province of Gyeonggi were among the local governments ordering all of its foreign workers to be tested for COVID-19, which drew criticism from South Korean lawmakers, officials, and foreign ambassadors.

The headquarters of the country’s pandemic control effort later said it had asked Seoul to withdraw the order and instead improve testing policies to remove discrimination. “The request is to prevent anti-COVID-19 efforts from causing any discrimination or human rights violations against citizens and foreign nationals,” it said in a statement. 

However despite a request from the national government to end its testing mandate, some South Korea provinces and cities are continuing to test all of its foreign workers. 

READ: Record high number of jobseekers entering workforce in South Korea

As of last week, Daegu city expanded on the number of foreign workers to be tested. However no foreign workers tested positive in the first phase of its tests, which involved some 2,553 people. 

The city also mandated that any new foreign hires be tested between March 19 to 28.