Wednesday, September 23, 2015

South Korea to Grant Work and Housing to 30 Myanmar Refugees as Part of U.N. Resettlement Program, Justice Ministry Says

The Ministry of Justice of South Korea confirmed on Monday that the government is taking steps to welcome 30 Myanmar refugees as part of a United Nations-led resettlement initiative for refugees.

In a Yonhap News Report on Sept. 15 it was said that the Ministry of Justice is screening eligible Myanmar refugees who are currently living in the Mae Sot camp near the Myanmar-Thailand border. 30 selected candidates will be brought into South Korea in December where they will be granted benefits and opportunities.

South Korea is the second Asian country to help facilitate the resettlement of refugees after Japan, which first accepted refugees in 2010, Jakarta Post writes.

This move from the South Korean government is in line with the resettlement program established by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, which was brought to life two years after South Korea's Refugee Act of 2013 took effect.

Under the resettlement program South Korea will bring in 30 refugees from Myanmar starting this year until 2017. "We will run a pilot project to admit 30 refugees every year until 2017 and see whether we will continue the program after monitoring the results," a representative from the Ministry of Justice said.

Those selected will be granted refugee status and F-2 visas that will allow them to live and work in South Korea.

To help them transition into their new lives, the refugees will undergo Korean language courses and trainings for employment for a period six to 12 months at a support center for refugees located in the west port city of Incheon. After they complete these programs, the refugees will then be transported to their official settlements.

KBS World Radio also reports that United Nation's resettlement program is now being implemented in 28 other countries including the U.S., Australia, and Japan.

The South Korean government chose refugees from Myanmar because its people allegedly share a similar cultural background, and also there is already an established Burmese community in the country.