Ki-don Kim (Korea Migrant Workers Human Rights Center)
The name of the organization I am currently participating in is ‘Korea Migrant Workers’ Human Rights Center’. Judging from the name, it seems to be an organization that oversees the human rights issues of migrant workers in Korea. In fact, the center located in Incheon often receives calls from other regions looking for its ‘branch’. Each time that happens, it is troublesome to have to explain the location of the group and the contents and scope of the activities, but there are many cases where the name is beneficial. The intention of representing the Korean migrant human rights movement is implicitly revealed in the name of the organization, so it is easy to organize direct actions or publicize the organization’s activities, and it helps to expand the scope of the organization’s activities overseas. And the most important thing is that the weight created by the words ‘Korea’, ‘migrant worker’, and ‘human rights’ makes the group’s intentions refined every moment. Anyway, for these reasons, it is also one of the important activities of the organization to interpret immigration-related institutions and policies from the human rights perspective. Among such issues, the hottest issue in recent years is the issue of Korean immigration policy and human rights understanding in China and the former Soviet Union, which are called ‘Korean-Chinese’ and ‘Koryoin’, as well as the Korean immigration policy and the introduction policy of migrant workers in Asia. It’s a matter of relationship
The above can be answered in two questions. The first is ‘why do compatriots in China and the former Soviet Union have to be discriminated differently from Korean Americans and Koreans in Japan even though they are of the same ethnicity?’ and the second is ‘why do migrant workers from Asia who immigrated to Korea are inferior to Koreans because they are not of the same ethnicity? Do I have to endure the situation?’
To tell the story, the Korean government does not grant the constitutional right to Koreans in China and the former Soviet Union to freely enter and leave Korea and engage in economic activities, unlike compatriots in other regions. Instead, they have been entering Korea through a separate system called ‘visiting employment system’ since 2007, and as a result, Chinese compatriots, who are referred to as ‘Korean-Chinese’ and ‘Koryoin’, respectively, and compatriots from the former Soviet Union, are selectively issued visiting work visas. and can only stay for a period of 5 years. During the Kim Dae-jung administration, the ‘Overseas Koreans Act’ was enacted to stimulate domestic investment of overseas Koreans as a way to overcome the IMF. It is fixed as it is. The Korean government does not stop there, but incorporates them into the lower labor market and uses them as unskilled labor in the 3D industry and service industry. By allowing employment in 34 unskilled labor sectors, compatriots were defined as part of the labor force in the lower labor market.
On the other hand, the Korean government defines these compatriots as those who are given incentives because of their ‘same ethnicity’ compared to migrant workers in Asia. Compared to migrant workers in Asia, Koreans can work in a variety of industries and there are no restrictions on changing workplaces. The visa is also issued as a multiple-entry visa that allows repeat entry and exit for 5 years. As a result, they are generally treated better than migrant workers from other regions who work as unskilled workers in the same industry. South Korea, which defines the “incentives” by not applied this is where pay to the core requirements of the labor rights violations of migrant workers themselves prove “what” was.
we respect the Chinese and Koreans in the former Soviet Union area in this matter The opinion that the status and rights of stay should be given to Koreans in other regions, and that unnecessary discrimination should be eliminated and basic labor and human rights should be guaranteed to other Asian migrant workers on the basis of the current working conditions and conditions of stay. brought up
And, although our opinion is at a very common-sense level, Koreans’ objection to it is not uncommon. There are a number of different opinions, from the extreme hatred of all types of migrants to the realistic opinion that realistic aspects cannot be overlooked, and the opinion that there should be no discrimination between compatriots from an ethnic point of view, but discrimination between compatriots and migrant workers from other regions is natural. Divergent opinions emerged. Of course, each opinion will have some basis, whether empirical or value-oriented. However, we focus on the basic premise that individuals who have the same legal status for all Koreans who claim such opinions should enjoy the same rights as others, and that all workers should be able to enjoy and claim their own labor rights. I would recommend that you think about it.
This is a matter of discrimination and a matter of basic labor rights. Although the specificity of the group should be considered, the universality of the basic human rights of an individual should also be given due attention. In this respect, discrimination against Koreans in China and the former Soviet Union, restrictions on workplace movement imposed on workers in Asia, and restrictions on labor rights should be resolved. In particular, the difference in the guarantee of human rights and labor rights between the Korean policy for Koreans and other policies to introduce migrant workers in Asia should not be used as a criterion for determining the difference in policies or whether incentives are granted.
When we mention the name of the organization again, the name of our organization is a combination of ‘Korea’, ‘migrant worker’, and ‘human rights’. Another reason I like the name of the group is that, due to the stipulation of the scope of ‘Korea’, the main target of our activities can also be defined as ‘Korea’ and ‘Koreans’. It is expected that our activities to tell the human rights of migrants to the society of ‘Korea’ bear fruit, and that our arguments will always be discussed in the ‘sphere of common sense’ of Korean society.