S. Korea could go ‘extinct’ without proper immigration policy: minister

The minister said accepting more immigrants into South Korea is no longer a choice but a necessity. - AFP

SEOUL: South Korea has reached a point where accepting more immigrants under a solid policy is no longer a choice, but a necessity because the country could face extinction without it, the justice minister said on Wednesday (Dec 6).

“We have already surpassed the phase of contemplating whether or not to adopt immigration policies,” Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon said during a ruling party policy meeting held at the National Assembly.

“Korea faces the fate of becoming extinct due to a population crisis if we do not adopt such policies,” he added.

Mr Han’s latest remarks come in line with the Yoon Suk-yeol administration’s efforts to launch a new government agency as a control tower handling immigration affairs.

Yoon’s talk of launching the control tower has been ongoing since 2022, but has failed to make significant progress so far.

The control tower will be under the Justice Ministry once launched, according to the government.

Han explained that the new immigration policies do not merely translate into accepting more foreigners into the country.

“It’s about tightening the monitoring on who to accept by using a detailed yardstick and adopting stronger management of illegal immigrants,” he told a group of People Power Party lawmakers.

“The quintessential countermeasures against a population crisis is improving birth rates alongside a new immigration policy.”

Officials from different agencies across the government will be dispatched to the control tower, according to Han. He explained that this system takes a leaf out of immigration control towers in Germany and Japan.

“The idea allows smooth operation without having to reform too many laws,” he said.

South Korea has the world’s lowest birth rate.

The country’s population has been decreasing for 43 consecutive months, according to an August report by statistics body, Statistics Korea. - The Korea Herald/ANN

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