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 Home > Open Board > News Release > Assembly urged to draw up measures for immigrants

    Assembly urged to draw up measures for immigrants
    Admin     2013/05/22 8:45 am
2013-05-20 16:55

Assembly urged to draw up measures for immigrants

More practical steps needed for immigrants

Rep. Chun Soon-ok of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) speaks during a forum she hosted to discuss measures to help immigrants adapt to Korean society at the National Assembly, Monday. Yonhap
By Jun Ji-hye 

Opposition lawmakers and heads of civic groups called on the National Assembly, Monday, to draw up more realistic and effective policies for immigrants and migrant workers.

Rep. Chun Soon-ok of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) hosted a forum, dubbed “Role of the Assembly and Parties in Multicultural Policy,” with experts and heads of civic organizations.

Rep. Jun Byung-hun, the newly elected DP floor leader also took part in the conference designed to discuss measures to help immigrants adapt to Korean society.

“We have not established proper policies backing immigrants in Korean society. I’m also responsible for that. In fact, the matter has become very serious,” Jun said. “If the nation does not provide them with institutional support, they will experience severe difficulties, which will negatively influence society as well.”

Rep. Chun is the younger sister of Chun Tae-il, a blue-collar worker who publicly immolated himself in Seoul in the 1970s to draw attention to abysmal working conditions.

She said she is well aware of the troubles facing multiracial families and other immigrants as she is married to an Englishman, and has a nephew-in-law from Nepal.

“The number of migrant workers and wives has been constantly increasing and they are mostly valuable members of society. If we do not create a society in which those people can achieve harmony, social and class division will deepen,” she said.

Park Kyeong-tae, a sociology professor at Sungkonghoe University, pointed out that most existing multicultural policies tend to only focus on migrant wives and their families.

“Migrant workers, refugees, foreign students, ethnic Koreans who moved to and settled in China, and North Korean defectors are all included in the multicultural category. Immigrant laborers suffer various kinds of abuses,” he said.

The professor suggested drawing up comprehensive prohibitions on discrimination including legislation against discrimination on the grounds of race.

“The nation’s systems and people’s perception must be changed together to move society in the right direction,” he said.

Park added local governments need to produce multicultural programs that immigrants and Koreans can engage in together, rather than only gathering immigrants, in order to help them make more personal connections.

Lee Young, executive secretary of the migrant service center in Namyangju, Gyeonggi Province, raised the issue of non-registered migrant workers.

“The number of non-registered migrant laborers has reached 180,000 over a decade. Under the standing law, the government only deports them. More realistic and effective measures to handle these people are urgently needed,” said Lee.

He proposed revising part of the employment permit system that has “poisonous clauses” for migrant workers such as restricting their freedom to change their work place if their employers do not agree.

“I also call for banning government officials’ violence during crackdowns,” he said.

Rep. Jun said he will continue to pay attention to such issues and try to introduce proper measures at the Assembly.  

“I promise not to make subjects discussed during the forum just one-off issues,” he said.

Source: Korea Times (2013.05.20) (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2013/05/116_136027.html)

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