Justice minister stresses importance of immigration to tackle S. Korea’s population decline

SEOUL, South Korea should no longer mull whether or not to embrace immigrants as the country is at the brink of extinction from a population crisis, Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon said Wednesday.

Han made the remarks in a policy meeting of the People Power Party (PPP) as he stressed the importance of establishing a new government agency overseeing immigration policies to tackle South Korea’s dwindling birthrate and projected decline in the population.

“The immigration policy I plan to push ahead is not aimed at bringing in as many foreigners as possible,” Han said. “We aim to make thorough assessments and accept only necessary foreign nationals … while strengthening the crackdown on illegal residents.”

The envisioned organization will be similar to that of Japan and Germany and function like what he described as a “control tower” overseeing relevant ministries related to immigration, Han said.

He also stressed the need to improve existing systems related to refugees and voting rights of foreigners in local elections.

It is the first time that Han has attended a general meeting of PPP lawmakers. His attendance came amid speculation that he could run in the April parliamentary elections.

Han said his visit was merely a “routine duty to discuss important policies with the ruling party.”

Source: Yonhap News Agency