DMW Launches Caregiver Pilot Project for EPS-Korea Program

In a significant step aimed at strengthening bilateral labor ties between the Philippines and South Korea, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) has launched an innovative Pilot Project under the Employment Permit System (EPS). This project seeks to deploy 100 qualified Filipino caregivers to assist Korean families, thereby opening up new job opportunities and fostering international cooperation.

However, like any pioneering venture, it presents its own set of challenges for the potential beneficiaries. Let us consider the benefits, application process, requirements, and tips in pursuing this exciting opportunity. 

dmw caregiver pilot EPS-Korea program
Credits: PNA

Program Benefits

For Filipino caregivers, the benefits of the program include:

    • International work experience in a developed country.
    • Potential for higher earnings and better employment conditions.
      • In 2023, the annual salary for caregivers in South Korea ranged from KRW 22 million (around PHP 933,000) to KRW 34 million (around PHP 1.4 million). Do note, however, that this range is still dependent on one’s skills, training credentials, and work experiences.
    • Opportunity to enhance professional skills through structured training sessions both pre-departure and post-arrival.

Qualification Criteria

The program mandates specific eligibility requirements for applicants:

  • Age between 24 and 38 years.
  • Possession of a TESDA NC II Caregiving Certificate.
  • A clean legal and health record.
  • Applicants must not be restricted from traveling abroad and should not have resided in Korea on an E-9 or E-10 visa for more than five (5) years.

Application Requirements

  1. Passport: Applicants need to submit a clean and clear scanned copy of the bio-data page of their passport. The scan should be in color, clear, and legible, ensuring that all details are easily readable. The file format must be JPEG or JPG, with a size not exceeding 100 KB.
  2. ID Picture: Two recent passport-size photographs are required. These photos must be 3.5 cm x 4.5 cm, taken within the last three months, and should not be a selfie. The background should be pure white, and the applicant must be dressed in office attire, without any eyeglasses or head dress (except for hijab).
  3. Caregiving National Certificate (NC) II: This certificate, validated by TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority), confirms that the applicant has the necessary professional qualifications. Applicants can check the validity of their NC II on TESDA’s official website.
  4. English Proficiency Certificate: If applicable, applicants who have achieved a score of Intermediate High or higher on the TOEIC Speaking or OPIc tests are required. This certificate is only needed if the applicant passes the computer-based test (CBT).

Testing and Selection Process

First Round Testing (EPS-TOPIK)
The first round, known as EPS-TOPIK, assesses language proficiency and includes:

  • Reading and listening tests conducted over two days.
  • A scoring system where candidates must score above 55 points to pass and qualify for the second round.

Second Round Testing
The second round involves:

  • A physical test assessing grip strength and back muscle strength.
  • An interview portion in both Korean and English, although those with a high TOEIC or OPIc score are exempt from the English interview.


Application and Registration Process

Candidates need to register online within a specific window (May 9 to May 10, 2024) and attach necessary documents such as their passport and caregiving certificate. It’s important to ensure all information is accurate to avoid disqualification.

Learn more about the application guidelines in this official announcement from the DMW.

Credits: DMW
registration guide
Credits: DMW
Credits: DMW

Challenges to Expect and How to Navigate Them

Strict Eligibility Criteria

  • A primary concern for many interested in the EPS-Korea Pilot Project is the strict eligibility criteria set by the DMW. 
  • To qualify, caregivers must present a Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) NC II Caregiving Certificate and must be aged between 24 and 38. 
  • This specific age requirement could potentially exclude experienced caregivers who fall outside this bracket, limiting the opportunity for those who might bring years of expertise and stability to the role.

What can Filipino caregivers do?

  • Prospective applicants should ensure they have the necessary certification well in advance of the application dates. 
  • For those outside the age range, looking into other international or local opportunities where experience is more heavily valued might be beneficial.

Rigorous Testing and Training

Once past the initial eligibility phase, selected applicants face a battery of tests—including medical, psychological, language, and physical assessments. 

This comprehensive screening, although essential for ensuring the readiness and capability of caregivers, can be quite intimidating.

Preparation tips:

  • Applicants should focus on maintaining good physical and mental health. 
  • Engaging in regular language practice and studying Korean culture can also alleviate the stress of language and psychological tests. 

Limited Application Window

The registration for this promising project is surprisingly short, spanning just two days from May 9 to May 10, 2024

This narrow window can be particularly challenging for those who need more time to gather documents or for those currently employed who may not be able to prepare in time.

How to tackle this:

  • Mark the calendar well in advance and prepare all necessary documents and requirements beforehand. 
  • It’s also wise to keep an eye on the DMW’s announcements in case there are any changes to the registration dates or procedures.

Language and Cultural Barriers

Another significant hurdle for Filipino caregivers will be the language and cultural barriers once they arrive in Korea. 

Even with pre-departure training, adjusting to a new cultural environment while handling demanding caregiving tasks can be overwhelming.

Strategies for cultural adaptation:

  • Prospective caregivers should proactively seek resources to learn about Korean customs and language. 
  • Engaging with community groups or online forums where other Filipino expatriates share their experiences can also provide practical insights and emotional support.

Emotional and Physical Demands of the Job

The role of a caregiver, especially in a foreign country, is inherently demanding. Filipino caregivers will be tasked with caring for children, including infants, and providing support to pregnant women and elderly, often requiring high emotional and physical investment.

Coping mechanisms:

  • It is important for caregivers to maintain a strong support network, both within the Philippines and in Korea. 
  • Regular communication with family back home and new friends can help mitigate feelings of isolation and homesickness. 
  • Additionally, finding time for personal care and relaxation will be vital to sustain their physical and emotional health.

Video: Caregiving a growing profession in South Korea

Interested to learn more about what it’s like to work as a caregiver in South Korea? Check out this report from Arirang News on Korea’s growing market for caregivers and what it’s like to work as one. Regardless of nationality, it’s quite plain to see that the role of a caregiver transcends language and borders. Care is universal, but the way it must be delivered must be observed within the context of culture and societal norms. This makes it challenging not only for aspiring Filipino caregivers, but also those interested in filling this important role.  


The EPS-Korea Pilot Project by the DMW is a groundbreaking opportunity that promises substantial benefits but also presents considerable challenges for Filipino caregivers. By understanding and preparing for these challenges, caregivers can better navigate the complexities of the project and make the most of this international employment opportunity. This endeavor not only enhances the professional lives of Filipino caregivers but also strengthens the cultural and economic ties between the Philippines and South Korea.

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