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The Role of Multicultural Families in South Korean Immigration Policy

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Chapter Summary

South Korean immigration policies have changed significantly in two main ways. One change has occurred within policies concerning the utilization of low-skilled migrant workers, and the other has been the initiation of a pilot integration policy for immigrants. This chapter examines why and how the Korean government changed its immigration policy from the notorious "industrial trainee program" to an "employment permit system" for foreign workers, and what caused the desire for an "integration policy" geared at establishing a multicultural society. In order to deal with the first issue, the chapter divides the last twenty years into three phases: the early phase, the middle phase involving the struggle for reform towards the Employment Permit System, and the institutionalization phase since 2004. In order to deal with the second issue, the increasing trend of marriage migration to South Korea and its impact on immigration policy, i.e. the social integration policy, is examined.

Keywords: employment permit system; migrant workers; multicultural society; South Korean immigration policies



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