Thursday, July 09, 2009

Financials for North Koreans in Seoul

Hanawon, the government-run institution that helps defectors settle in South Korea, celebrated its 10th anniversary on Wednesday. 16,513 North Koreans have arrived in South Korea as of June this year. And a further 3,000 North Koreans are expected this year, which will bring the total close to 20,000 living in South Korea.

Oddly, 58.4 percent of defectors who have settled in the South still consider themselves North Koreans, and only 6.3 percent think of themselves as South Koreans.

When they arrive in Seoul, North Korean defectors undergo a three-month adjustment period at Hanawon and are given a rented apartment equivalent to W13 million ($10,164) in housing support and another W6 million ($4,691). to help them settle.

Despite this administrative support, defectors continue to feel like outsiders in South Korea, one major reason being the difficulty finding good jobs. The average monthly salary is W937,000 ( $732). Day labor jobs account for 42.6 percent, according to the Database Center for North Korean Human Rights. By comparison, only 9.2 percent of South Koreans eke out a living from day labor.

[Chosun Ilbo]

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