SEOUL, Sept. 7 (Korea Bizwire) — Migrant workers in Gyeonggi Province say “bias and discrimination” are their biggest challenges, second only to “language and communication obstacles”.
The Gyeonggido Family & Women Research Institute filed a report on Thursday after conducting a survey of 688 foreign workers through seven Migrant Community Offices in Gyeonggi, the province that encircles Seoul and is home to 13 million residents.
Among the respondents, 58.4 percent said their greatest difficulty was with “language and communication.”
“Bias and discrimination from Koreans” ranked second at 23.7 percent.
This was followed by “cultural differences” (21.9 percent), “medical expenses” (15.7 percent), “lack of information and counseling services” (13.9 percent) and “bad working conditions” (13.1 percent).
Of note, 59.2 percent answered “yes” when asked if they had ever felt they were discriminated against by the locals.
Foreign workers who are females, older, with children and have stayed in Korea longer tended to experience more bias and discrimination than those who are males, younger, without kids and had spent less time here.
When they felt they were being discriminated against, 72.2 percent said they “just held back their anger”. Very few of the respondents exhibited confrontational behavior such as demanding an apology.
“These days more migrant workers tend to stay long-term, bringing their family into the country,” commented the GFWRI that ran the poll.
“Thus there is a greater need for Korean language education, raising awareness of sex crimes against women and medical support for children from foreign worker families.”
The institute added that more multicultural awareness programs for the locals were needed in order to reduce bias and discrimination in the country.
There are about 1.7 million foreigners residing in Korea, among which one third are migrant workers, according to a 2015 report by the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs.
Foreigners make up 3.4 percent of the country’s population, but both the number and the proportion are expected to surge as Korea has one of the lowest birth rates in the world.
Joey Yoo (firstname.lastname@example.org)