Defectors given level-7 gov’t jobs

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Defectors given level-7 gov’t jobs

The South Korean government announced on Tuesday that it has selected five North Korean defectors to work at the Ministry of Unification as seventh-level employees, a position coveted for its guarantee of lifetime employment and social status.

According to the ministry, which handles inter-Korean relations, 104 defectors applied for five available positions.

The government already has North Korean defectors serving as lower grade-nine administrative workers. However, this is the first time that it has hired them for a relatively higher government position.

As of last year, there were 74 North Korean defectors employed by central and provisional government offices across the country as low-grade servants.

“By working with other related government agencies, we will continue our efforts to help defectors serve in the public sector,” a ministry official said.

Approximately 28,000 people have settled in South Korea after fleeing North Korea, according to ministry figures.

The government currently provides a package of financial aid and education courses for defectors to better aid in their transition to the capitalist South.

The programs to help North Korean defectors have long been cited as a litmus test for how the central government could handle the influx of North Koreans in the case of unification on the peninsula.

BY KANG JIN-KYU [kang.jinkyu@joongang.co.kr]

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