The MIPEX Assessment of the Republic of Korea’s Immigrant Integration Policies

Korea, a new immigration country, deserves to be included in the Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX). With an overall MIPEX score of 60/100, the Republic’s current integration policies are just “slightly favorable” for pro-moting integration. It ranks 13th among the 31 MIPEX III countries. Compared to most other recent emerging countries of immigration, the country has very quickly improved its legal framework for integration. The major areas of strength in South Korea’s integration policies are its targeted policies on labor market support, migrant pupils’ education access and needs, voting rights, and support for immigrant associations. However, these policies are relatively new and need to be fully evaluated as to their implementation and effectiveness. Moreover, significant policy weaknesses emerge across all seven areas, such as autonomous permits for reunited family members, the implementation of intercultural education, the political liberties of foreigners, the exclusion from family reunion and long-term residence for certain permit-holders, various re-strictions on access to nationality, and the weak definitions and enforcement mechanisms on discrimination. The research demonstrates that Korea has taken important steps forward, but that it can do better to create a more encouraging environment in which immigrants can contribute to a country’s prosperity and well-being.
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