Employing defectors to become incentivizedThe Ministry of Unification said Tuesday that it will increase incentives for businesses employing North Korean defectors and provide more job training for them as part of efforts to help them resettle successfully in South Korea.
The measure is part of the ministry’s 2020 support plans for the more than 33,000 North Korean defectors here amid growing demand for support as they adapt to their new home.
“Continued efforts will be made to enhance North Korean defectors’ individual capacity and arrange job opportunities for them so as to promote their stable resettlement as productive contributors [to South Korean society],” the ministry said.
Under the plans, the ministry said that it will increase incentives for businesses if they employ defectors. It will also expand education programs at a state-run job training facility to be launched in July to help them get jobs and secure state licenses in such areas as cooking and bread making.
Demand is growing for more diversified job opportunities for North Korean defectors, many of whom reportedly take manual and low-paying part-time jobs.
According to a survey by the ministry, the average monthly income of North Korean defectors stood at 2.05 million won ($1,780) last year, exceeding the 2 million mark for the first time. The amount was still far lower than the 2.64 million won tallied for all South Koreans.
The ministry said that it will also increase support for young North Korean defectors to adapt to school and receive a better education as part of efforts to lower overall dropout rates and expand opportunities for them to advance to higher education.
In addition, it plans to allow more North Korean defectors to benefit from scholarships and education support programs aimed at helping them learn foreign languages and be better prepared for global competition.
As of the end of 2019, the number of North Korean defectors to have resettled in South Korea stood at 33,523. Last year, 1,047 North Koreans defected to the South, down 7.9 percent from a year earlier, according to the ministry.
The challenges facing North Korean defectors here came under the spotlight when a mother and her child were found dead in an apartment last summer, presumably due to starvation.