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Foreign migrant workers wages dilemma
« on: June 19, 2021, 02:09:56 pm »
This issue always bugs me to some degree.
Here's what I mean.   

Foreign workers from poorer countries like SE Asia, South Asia, Middle East, and Uzbek, Kazahks, etc. work the DDD jobs that most Koreans don't want to work.   They are often labelled as being treated unfairly, poorly, and working and living in harsh conditions.   Advocates for their cause fight for them on the basis of racial equality and equal treatment to foreign workers in Korea (all sounds nice and dandy up to here, y'know, the typical politically correct things you are supposed to say).

But why should they get paid higher or on equal level as Koreans?  If you really think about it, it's not actually fair for Koreans.  Here's why.  They are coming from a very poor country.  When they work here and earn 1 month's salary, it equates to about a year's worth of salary back home.  Think about that for  a second.    Wouldn't you love to be in that situation?  Wouldn't you as an American or European love to go work somewhere where they pay you about 1 year's salary in 1 month?    So then, to protest that you should get higher wages to equal that of Koreans would mean that back home, you would technically be getting 10X or 20X more money than Korean workers (unless of course Koreans decide to move to cambodia and go from being a middle income Korean to a mega rich cambodian).   So yes, they would have to endure some difficult jobs and situations in Korea but when they send that money back home, they are making 10X more money than Koreans are when you do the conversion.

That would be like you working in Saudi Arabia and getting paid the equivalent of what would be $30,000 a month USD or $360K a year but complaining and demanding that your wages should go up and equal that of Saudi Arabians (which means you'd get more like $40 or $50 K a month USD).  Now this is just an example.  I'm not saying that's how much you get paid if you worked in the oil fields in SA.

So why am I saying this?  As a foreign workers in Korea, we the english teachers, are severely underpaid compared to a factory worker from bangladesh or philippines.   If they get paid 3 million won a month and we get paid 3 million won a month, those workers are actually kicking our butts because that money equates to a year's salary back home for them, but our 3 million won a month equates to just barely past poverty line in America/Europe.

So either migrant workers in DDD jobs SHOULD get paid less and keep it that way OR foreign english teachers from 1st world countries should be getting about double what we are paid right now.     Either that or we take our money and decide to live in one of those countries to become rich (which I have been pondering about and maybe I should do that).

We are the losers.   Of course, that is why you have to have side hustles to double your income...but that is another story for another time.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2021, 02:13:45 pm by fruitloops »


  • VanIslander
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Re: Foreign migrant workers wages dilemma
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2021, 02:15:59 pm »
Nobody is saying migrant workers should be paid MORE than local Korean workers.


Re: Foreign migrant workers wages dilemma
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2021, 12:20:06 am »
Nobody is saying migrant workers should be paid MORE than local Korean workers.

No, but they are complaining why Korean workers should get paid more than migrant workers.

There is also some saying minimum wage for migrant workers should be lowered not raised higher,
but if you say that, then they come back at you with the whole "racism towards migrant workers" argument.



Re: Foreign migrant workers wages dilemma
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2021, 12:22:02 am »
Migrant workers should be paid more than korean workers

They already are getting paid more....about 10x more.  To a korean worker, making 3 million won a month = 3 million won.
To a migrant worker making 3 million won a month = 30 million won a month back in their home country.

They are making a lot more money. 


Re: Foreign migrant workers wages dilemma
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2021, 12:27:06 am »
They already are getting paid more....about 10x more.  To a korean worker, making 3 million won a month = 3 million won.
To a migrant worker making 3 million won a month = 30 million won a month back in their home country.

They are making a lot more money. 

Cool but they are living in korea so your argument is a bit misconstrued.

But it is ironic that in the west it’s acceptable to send jobs overseas for the same reasoning basically.


  • JNM
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Re: Foreign migrant workers wages dilemma
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2021, 12:59:36 am »
Cool but they are living in korea so your argument is a bit misconstrued.

But it is ironic that in the west it’s acceptable to send jobs overseas for the same reasoning basically.

They live in Korea, but not with a Korean lifestyle.

They often live in dorms, and eat provided meals.

They should still make minimum *at least* wage, but I suspect some creative accounting happens with regard to room and board, transportation, etc.

Edit: added *at least* for clarity
« Last Edit: June 20, 2021, 03:01:01 am by JNM »


  • waygo0k
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Re: Foreign migrant workers wages dilemma
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2021, 01:41:23 am »
3D workers are getting paid this amount because Korea values the contribution their labour brings, and the 3D workers have fought for years to get to this stage.

It's not unfair to anyone (who's not in their industry) what 3D workers get paid today. If you think they deserve less pay simply because of where they come from, feel free to join their ranks and do their job for a month or two and see if you still feel the same way about this at the end.

E2s on the other hand, lawd knows what it'll take before ESL teachers stand up and collectively demand better pay and conditions that keep up with inflation and other industries. Hagwon owners are laughing all the way to the bank with tens of millions of won profit per month while there is an "official-unofficial" industry squeeze on wages...yes, the hagwon association did come together to decide what paltry wages its members would pay their E2 employees, and they've stuck to it.

Instead of looking over at 3D workers and thinking "hey, I get paid shit so they should get paid shit too?"...why not think "they get paid well, why can't I get paid well too?" and actually do something about it.

3D workers voted with their feet and wages rose in record time...perhaps it's time for E-2s to do the same? Even if cheaper Koreaboos are used to replace you walking out, all you did was speed up the inevitable anyway...whilst probably finding better employment elsewhere.


  • OnNut81
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Re: Foreign migrant workers wages dilemma
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2021, 07:58:56 am »
This issue always bugs me to some degree.
Here's what I mean.   

Foreign workers from poorer countries like SE Asia, South Asia, Middle East, and Uzbek, Kazahks, etc. work the DDD jobs that most Koreans don't want to work.   They are often labelled as being treated unfairly, poorly, and working and living in harsh conditions.   Advocates for their cause fight for them on the basis of racial equality and equal treatment to foreign workers in Korea (all sounds nice and dandy up to here, y'know, the typical politically correct things you are supposed to say).

But why should they get paid higher or on equal level as Koreans?  If you really think about it, it's not actually fair for Koreans.  Here's why.  They are coming from a very poor country.  When they work here and earn 1 month's salary, it equates to about a year's worth of salary back home.  Think about that for  a second.    Wouldn't you love to be in that situation?  Wouldn't you as an American or European love to go work somewhere where they pay you about 1 year's salary in 1 month?    So then, to protest that you should get higher wages to equal that of Koreans would mean that back home, you would technically be getting 10X or 20X more money than Korean workers (unless of course Koreans decide to move to cambodia and go from being a middle income Korean to a mega rich cambodian).   So yes, they would have to endure some difficult jobs and situations in Korea but when they send that money back home, they are making 10X more money than Koreans are when you do the conversion.

That would be like you working in Saudi Arabia and getting paid the equivalent of what would be $30,000 a month USD or $360K a year but complaining and demanding that your wages should go up and equal that of Saudi Arabians (which means you'd get more like $40 or $50 K a month USD).  Now this is just an example.  I'm not saying that's how much you get paid if you worked in the oil fields in SA.

So why am I saying this?  As a foreign workers in Korea, we the english teachers, are severely underpaid compared to a factory worker from bangladesh or philippines.   If they get paid 3 million won a month and we get paid 3 million won a month, those workers are actually kicking our butts because that money equates to a year's salary back home for them, but our 3 million won a month equates to just barely past poverty line in America/Europe.

So either migrant workers in DDD jobs SHOULD get paid less and keep it that way OR foreign english teachers from 1st world countries should be getting about double what we are paid right now.     Either that or we take our money and decide to live in one of those countries to become rich (which I have been pondering about and maybe I should do that).

We are the losers.   Of course, that is why you have to have side hustles to double your income...but that is another story for another time.

You're actually trying to make the claim that immigrants should be paid less for the same work based on what the value of their salary is in another country? 


  • tylerthegloob
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Re: Foreign migrant workers wages dilemma
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2021, 08:08:58 am »
i volunteer to be the cheap koreaboo that takes hangook's job
more gg more skill


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Re: Foreign migrant workers wages dilemma
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2021, 03:07:43 am »
You're actually trying to make the claim that immigrants should be paid less for the same work based on what the value of their salary is in another country? 
Similar to how many expect restaurants serving cuisine from poor countries, e.g,, India, to be cheaper than ones serving other foods.


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Re: Foreign migrant workers wages dilemma
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2021, 07:02:48 am »

But why should they get paid higher or on equal level as Koreans?  If you really think about it, it's not actually fair for Koreans.  Here's why.  They are coming from a very poor country.  When they work here and earn 1 month's salary, it equates to about a year's worth of salary back home.  Think about that for  a second.    Wouldn't you love to be in that situation?  Wouldn't you as an American or European love to go work somewhere where they pay you about 1 year's salary in 1 month?    So then, to protest that you should get higher wages to equal that of Koreans would mean that back home, you would technically be getting 10X or 20X more money than Korean workers (unless of course Koreans decide to move to cambodia and go from being a middle income Korean to a mega rich cambodian).   So yes, they would have to endure some difficult jobs and situations in Korea but when they send that money back home, they are making 10X more money than Koreans are when you do the conversion.


Wow, I just read this to.  Extremely regressive and racist thinking. Let's make a two-tiered
society. One for us and one for "them". We'll reserver the best salaries and places to live
for us. We'll pay "them" less and they can live in squalor. That's what they're used to right?
Start tweaking this system more and adding a few more levels and we arrive at a pretty
scary place. How about calling it "Apartheid", "Serfdom", "Indentured Labour".


Re: Foreign migrant workers wages dilemma
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2021, 07:35:45 am »
Fruitloops that’s nearly the same argument used to justify slavery, the slaves were “better off” as slaves rather than being free.


  • OnNut81
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Re: Foreign migrant workers wages dilemma
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2021, 07:44:02 am »
Similar to how many expect restaurants serving cuisine from poor countries, e.g,, India, to be cheaper than ones serving other foods.

People expect that?  Not implying you do, but I expect to pay more for a meal that is something less pedestrian and absolutely less for local dishes. 


  • hangook77
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Re: Foreign migrant workers wages dilemma
« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2021, 07:44:23 am »
i volunteer to be the cheap koreaboo that takes hangook's job

I'm sure you're nipping at the heels with a tattoo of "sucker" on your forehead.


  • OnNut81
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Re: Foreign migrant workers wages dilemma
« Reply #14 on: June 22, 2021, 07:47:16 am »

3D workers voted with their feet and wages rose in record time...perhaps it's time for E-2s to do the same? Even if cheaper Koreaboos are used to replace you walking out, all you did was speed up the inevitable anyway...whilst probably finding better employment elsewhere.

Losing 3D workers would cripple the economy.  A walkout of ESL teachers would barely cause a ripple in the economy.

It's the well known cripple vs. ripple phenomenon taught just after supply and demand. 


  • hangook77
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Re: Foreign migrant workers wages dilemma
« Reply #15 on: June 22, 2021, 07:59:30 am »
Many foreigners will go to other countries eventually though.  I and only a few others have said anything to the Koreans about it from what I can tell.  A few more secretly cheered me on but were fearful to do so themselves. 

Then, you have the foreigners who will argue with you saying it can't be done and we should be paid low wages.  I swear they get triggered and offended by it which makes no sense.  (They're a huge part of the problem.)
« Last Edit: June 22, 2021, 08:21:11 am by Kyndo »


Re: Foreign migrant workers wages dilemma
« Reply #16 on: June 22, 2021, 08:06:15 am »
The lack of balls will cause most E2s not to push for more money.  Many will go to other countries eventually though.  I and only a few others have said anything to the Koreans about it from what I can tell.  A few more secretly cheered me on but were fearful to do so themselves. 

Then, you have the foreigners who will argue with you saying it can't be done and we should be paid low wages.  I swear they get triggered and offended by it which makes no sense.  (They're a huge part of the problem.)

The pool of applicants is too large though. If qualified foreigners refuse teaching jobs with low wages the koreans will just switch to teachers from the Philippines or India.


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Re: Foreign migrant workers wages dilemma
« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2021, 08:06:30 am »
The lack of balls will cause most E2s not to push for more money.  Many will go to other countries eventually though.  I and only a few others have said anything to the Koreans about it from what I can tell.  A few more secretly cheered me on but were fearful to do so themselves. 

Then, you have the foreigners who will argue with you saying it can't be done and we should be paid low wages.  I swear they get triggered and offended by it which makes no sense.  (They're a huge part of the problem.)

You're part of the problem. You constantly bring up the unsatisfactory salary and talk about leaving to make more money. But here you are. The Korean overlords now think we are all soft and talk of leaving for greener pastures is nothing but an empty threat. You've shown them your hand and they know they have you beat. Be better. Be part of the solution not the problem.


  • waygo0k
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Re: Foreign migrant workers wages dilemma
« Reply #18 on: June 22, 2021, 08:49:23 am »
Losing 3D workers would cripple the economy.  A walkout of ESL teachers would barely cause a ripple in the economy.

It's the well known cripple vs. ripple phenomenon taught just after supply and demand. 

ESL is a multi-billion dollar industry in Korea on its own. Let's see how tiny a ripple it would cause if, say, 50%+ of E2 positions went unfilled.

The pool of applicants is too large though. If qualified foreigners refuse teaching jobs with low wages the koreans will just switch to teachers from the Philippines or India.

They've been trying to do that for at least a decade. Nothing new there. A few Filipinos on F-visas already teach English in Korea, and some on entertainment, student or even D-visas already do it under the table.

One of the most depressing things I saw last year was someone on Craigslist Seoul offering private English lessons for 10k won per hour, and some pseudo-hagwon-cafe offering a "teaching" gig for around the same...that is how low things have gotten.

At this stage everyone is calling E2 bluffs and ESL teachers keep folding, with each fold depressing wages further. Why not try something different for a change and stick 2 fingers up?


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Re: Foreign migrant workers wages dilemma
« Reply #19 on: June 22, 2021, 10:21:08 am »
People expect that?  Not implying you do, but I expect to pay more for a meal that is something less pedestrian and absolutely less for local dishes. 
Yep. At Mexican restaurants, for example, you always get a ton of food for not much dough. Indian restaurants are dirt cheap comparatively in NYC and then there's buffets everywhere else. Chinese take-out, Vietnamese pho, the list goes on.