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Asiatic Research Institute of Korea University
ARI Working Paper Series No. 3
Date : 2009.11.15 (Sun) Hit : 4559

[ARI Working Paper Seires No. 3]

A Comparative Analysis of Immigration Policy of South Korea and Taiwan: With a Focus on Foreign Migration Workers

by In-Jin Yoon

(Professor, Korea University)

Notes on Contributor

In-Jin Yoon is professor of the Department of Sociology, Korea University and the head of the Brain Korea 21 Project Group for Conflict Society. He is also the president of the Association for the Study of Overseas Koreans and a civilian member of the Immigration Policy Committee. He graduated from the Department of Sociology, Korea University and received his MA degree and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He was an assistant professor in the Asian American Studies Department of the University of California, Santa Barbara before he became an assistant professor of sociology at Korea University. His major publications include On My Own: Korean Businesses and Race Relations in America, Korean Diaspora: Migration, Adaptation, and Identity of Overseas Koreans, South Koreans’ Perceptions of Social Conflict, and North Korean immigrants: Lives, Consciousness, and Support Policy for Resettlement. His research interests include minority, social psychology, international migration, and multicultural studies.



In this paper, I attempt to examine and compare characteristics and conditions of migrant workers and foreign labor policy of Korea and Taiwan.2 I pay special attention to the divergence in foreign labor policy between Korea and Taiwan and propose that policy between the government and civil society was a crucial factor of

progressive reforms in Korea in foreign labor policy in particular and multicultural policy in general. Main findings are as follows. Korea and Taiwan formulated foreign labor policy in the early 1990s to import migrant workers to solve labor shortage in labor-intensive industries. Taiwan adopted the employment permit system while Korea followed a Japanese model of trainee system. The Korean government implemented proactive and progressive foreign labor policy and improved significantly status and conditions of migrant workers during the last decade while the Taiwan government did not engage in policy reform as actively as the Korean government. The strong political belief and leadership of the president, the ability of government bureaucrats to form policy network with civil society organizations, and the public acceptance of progressive immigration policy produced immigration policy reforms in Korea.

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