Saturday, April 30, 2011

Resettled North Korean defectors seek asylum in Britain

Police in Busan, South Korea, recently conducted a survey on 25 North Korean defectors in an effort to gain insight into North Koreans’ motivation to move overseas.

Among them, eight North Korean defectors are believed to be staying in Britain in an attempt to win asylum, after staying for years in South Korea, according to a police official handling defectors in Busan.

South Korea is home to more than 20,000 North Koreans who fled hunger and political oppression in their communist homeland, but many of them fail to get decent jobs, falling further down the social ladder in this highly competitive society. Such challenges apparently prompt some North Koreans with hopes of a higher quality of life to leave South Korea and seek asylum in foreign countries.

South Korea provides defectors with three months of mandatory resettlement training and doles out 13 million won ($11,650) to each household as housing subsidy while offering vocational training to help them find jobs.

North Koreans fleeing their homeland can seek asylum in South Korea, but once they become South Korean citizens, they are not eligible to seek refuge in foreign countries, said Lee Jong-joo, a spokeswoman for the Unification Ministry handling inter-Korean affairs.

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