Saturday, September 16, 2017

Foreign Workers in Korea

Korea is no longer a homogeneous society and has come a long way from the days as the  hermit kingdom. In a article in a diocesan bulletin the writer reminds the readers that Korea has over two million migrants but has not acknowledged this reality. Stories of racial discrimination continue to appear in the news.

Since we have no laws protecting the immigrants, the children of Koreans married to immigrants and the migrant workers have a difficult life. Korea needs to understand the multicultural reality of society and begin adapting to it.

Korea is an aging and low birthrate country, consequently the need for  workers and the need for mates for their citizens which requires foreigners not only as workers but as spouses for many of  the country areas, making for a multicultural nation. Many see them as a necessary evil and do not accept them as helping to build up the nation.

Society needs to see the problems associated with the large numbers of  foreigners in society and understand the difficulties that the migrants have in adapting to Korean life: the lack of a sufficient knowledge of Korea makes for difficulty in relating and having a harmonious family life with the spouse and children. This often results in conflict over small issues and  the break down  of family life and divorce. 

The children within this family have difficulty in school and are often bullied and not accepted by their classmate. All making for future social problems.

Korea has also to deal with refugees. They have different kinds  of obstacles to face. Korea has one of the highest entry barriers for refugees and the numbers are few but the migrant worker problem is a different dimension. Korea needs workers who are willing to do the difficult, dangerous and dirty jobs that Korean are unwilling to do.

The country has not come to grips with the immigrant integration problems because the foreign born population is still small and temporary. More efforts are made to prepare foreigners with a basic knowledge of Korean and the culture. The migrant workers have helped the country to prosper and  some are  proposing  an increase of  foreign workers on a more permanent basis. A sign that we made see changes in the near future.