HHI to bring 550 skilled foreign workers to home amid labor shortages
South Korea’s biggest shipwright Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. will bring about 550 skilled foreign workers including welders from Thailand and Indonesia upon easing in visa regulation to address dire labor shortage at shipyards amid a boon in orders after a decade-long slump.
According to industry sources on Monday, about 350 skilled shipbuilding workers will arrive in Korea starting this month to work as Hyundai Heavy Industries’ subcontract workers. Around 200 from Indonesia will also come to Korea by early next year, with others from China, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.
With the addition, foreign subcontract workers at Hyundai Heavy Industries will rise to 2,000 from 800 as of the first half of this year. As of the end of August, foreign laborers in the domestic shipyards totaled 3,880.
Hyundai Heavy Industries has been active in recruiting workers from overseas as many skilled Korean vessel engineers and builders left the industry during the decade-long slump.
Amid signs of a recovery in global vessel demand, Hyundai Heavy Industries has been awash with orders for high value-added vessels like LNG carriers since 2020. It obtained $8.82 billion worth ship orders up to September this year, already exceeding its annual sales target of $8.34 billion for this year.
The Korean government in April decided to lift the E-7 visa quota restriction for migrant workers like welders and painters in a bid to ease the labor shortage in the shipbuilding industry.
Simultaneously, Hyundai Heavy Industries has been making efforts to secure domestic research and development experts as well, with 200 reportedly moved from Samsung Heavy Industries recently. In response to that, Samsung Heavy Industries, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, K Shipbuilding and Daehan Shipbuilding filed a petition with the Fair Trade Commission in August.
Hyundai Heavy Industries shares were trading 1.44 percent higher at 114,500 won in the morning trade Tuesday.