Thursday, March 17, 2011

Financial plight of North Korean defectors living in the South

Less than half of North Koreans who have defected to South Korea since 2000 are “economically active,” according to research conducted by a support foundation for North Korean defectors based in Seoul. The term “economically active” refers to people who furnish the labor for the production of economic goods and services, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The North Korean Refugees Foundation surveyed 1,200 defectors last year and found that only 42.5 percent of them were economically active after defecting. By comparison, 61.1 percent of South Koreans are active, according to Statistics Korea. Hiring rates were found to be lower for the defectors, at 38.8 percent, compared to 59.1 for South Korean citizens. 

According to the report, 20.4 percent of defectors employed were engaged in simple labor, 19.6 percent in machinery operation or assembly and 18.7 percent in service occupations. Only 4.1 percent are self-employed and 0.9 percent are employers.

Other survey results dealt with the health conditions of the defectors, of which 44.3 percent said that they “did not feel they were healthy.” Nearly a third of the 1,200 were suffering from arthritis, lumbar and joint problems.  

JoongAng Daily

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