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Engineering & Construction

South Korea shipbuilders rue job cuts as LNG tanker demand surges

Government to offer more visas for welders and painters to ease labor shortage

A worker carries construction materials through a Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea.   © Reuters

SEOUL/TOKYO -- A surge in demand for liquefied natural gas tankers has left South Korea's shipbuilding industry scrambling for workers after shedding half its work force during an earlier slump, spurring the government to step in amid fears that Chinese rivals could fill the gap.

The Justice Ministry on April 19 announced an increase in the cap on visas for workers with specific in-demand skills, effective that day. The country will now allow in up to about 4,400 welders, painters and others with essential shipbuilding-related skills, five times the previous limit.

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