Couldn’t Ali be paid? Couldn’t Ali reside legally in Korea? Ali is one of the most notable characters and has a pitiful story in Squid Game. His two fingers were severed in a workplace accident and hasn’t been given his back pay. He was an undocumented worker and the breadwinner of his wife and one-year-old baby. Unfortunately, to get his back pay, he committed crimes. He pushed his boss and the boss was injured. He ran away taking his boss’ money. He felt like he was in hell and decide to join the game again. But, he was betrayed by Sangwoo and met tragic death.
As a lawyer, I felt really sorry for him and I thought over what I could advise him if I knew him in the real world.
My first legal advice for him would be to file a labor petition for his back pay with the labor office of Ministry of Employment and Labor. Even an undocumented worker may file a petition for his or her back pay because they also have the rights as a worker under Labor Standards Act (the “Act). According to the Act, an employer who doesn’t pay wages to his or her employee shall be punished by imprisonment with labor for not more than three years or by a fine not exceeding 30 million Korean Won. So, the employer would pay the wages to Ali in order to avoid the punishment. Filing a civil suit would be also a viable option for Ali if the employer refuses to give his back pay.
Second, I’d advise him to apply for compensation for his injury in the industrial accident. Even an undocumented worker shall be compensated for an injury in an industrial accident even if the business hasn’t taken up industrial insurance policy. The undocumented worker injured in a workplace accident may obtain a G1 visa and reside in Korea until he or she is cured.
My last point is that penalty is charged to an undocumented worker for overstay and the amount of the penalty will depend on the period overstayed. The best option for Ali would be applying for a G1 visa for the treatment his injury in an industrial accident or the labor petition and investigation for his back pay before his working visa was expired.
If Ali had known the remedies mentioned above, he wouldn’t have had to join the game. I hope that there will be no more Ali in Korea.