Friday, September 4, 2009

OECD: Korea Should Open More Doors to Migrant Workers

OECD: 한국은 이주근로자에 좀더 개방적이어야
Korea is said to be one of the most rapidly aging countries in the world. The National Statistical Office projects that by 2050, four out of 10 people in the country will be over the age of 65, which will be the highest in the OECD. As the population grows older, the working population is expected to drop by more than 15 percent in 2050, dealing a serious blow to the nation's economy.

The OECD says the solution to this problem is in lowering Korea's threshold for immigrants. In order to cope with the country's shrinking working population, the OECD advises that Korea should supplement 14 percent of its population with migrant workers from 2020 to 2050.

By holding on to the virtue of homogeneity, Korea has always been on the OECD's list of countries where national and foreigner distinction is prevalent. As of 2007, foreigners who have acquired Korean citizenship accounted for a mere 1.5 percent of the total population.

OECD Secretary-General Angel Guarria said countries should keep in mind that "the benefits of migration are shared between sending and receiving countries," and stressed the importance of "responsive, fair and effective migration and integration policies."

According to a recent study by Hyundai Research Institute, migrant workers' productivity is expected to increase Korea's GDP by nearly 0.5 percent and the amount of money they spend here is expected to amount to almost W4 trillion (US$1=W1,260). Keeping the doors open to more immigrants is more likely to bring a positive rather than a negative effect to the economy, according to the study.

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