Protection and Assistance for Forced Migrants: The Art of Socio-economic Integration
Korea is known for its low acceptance rate for asylum seekers, as low as 1-2%. This is one of the lowest among G20 countries, only second to Japan. Unfortunately, the rate drops lower every year. Due to such statistics, Korea is often mistaken to be "Refugee-free." However, as we see in the case of Ukrainian, Afghan, or Yemeni asylum seekers, this statistical misconception arises from not accurately counting de facto refugees. A passive refugee policy has a risk of leaving out forced migrants in a gray zone. While this may help prevent social controversy, this approach makes Korea’s screening system defensive, and settlement policy relatively passive. For the multifaceted turbulences around the world and East Asia, Korea is being called upon to fulfill its role as a responsible member of the global society. 2023 is 10th anniversary of Korea’s Refugee Law coming into effect. It is time for Korea to learn from its own experience and restructure its refugee policies more proactive, to acheive better socio-economic integration of the migrants.
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