Marriage migrants (such a romantic term) make up 10 percent of the immigrant population here, but are getting all the love (so to speak) in terms of benefits and programs from the Korean government.
So says Will Kymlicka, professor and Canada Research Chair at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada, in an interview with the Korea Times.
“I don’t think it’s fair and also don’t think it’s feasible to think of foreign workers as just disposable labor you can bring in for a few years and get rid of. More systematic multiculturalism has to think about the ways in which foreign workers will be and should be allowed to become members of Korean society, not just foreign brides.”
He was in Seoul with 50 experts from 20 countries for the Korea Foundation Global Seminar on Challenges of a Multicultural World and Global Approaches to Coexistence. (KFGSCMWGAC, if you prefer acronyms.)
Migrant workers punching in at factories around the country account for 1/3 of the migrant population of 1.5 million, but policy has focused more on those marrying in to the country, say experts.
Kymlicka (please, resist) suggests that the government should start with some public education programs or risk running into a “they’re stealing our jobs!” situation like that in Europe and North America.
“Any movement Korea makes has to be accompanied by explaining to average citizens why these changes are necessary, why they are good for everybody, why they are legitimate claims immigrants have.”