What’s delaying establishment of Korea’s immigration agency?

Ministry of Justice headquarters in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province / Korea Times file

The planned launch of an immigration agency, a campaign pledge by President Yoon Suk Yeol, appears to have stalled, as the government shifts focus to establishing a population ministry that would also be tasked with handling immigration policies.

Critics argue that over two years into Yoon’s presidency, the government still lacks a cohesive approach to immigration, which is a crucial component to addressing Korea’s population crisis.

Earlier on Monday, the government announced plans to launch a deputy prime minister-level ministry tasked with addressing the low birthrate and aging population, tentatively named the Ministry of Population Strategy Planning. This organization will serve as a control tower for demographic issues, including the low birthrate, aging population, workforce and immigration.

“This ministry will be tasked with developing workforce plans tailored to sector-specific labor demands, including for women, foreigners and 카지노사이트모음 older adults, as well as shaping immigration policies,” Kim Jung-ki, director of the organization bureau at the Ministry of the Interior and Safety, said during a briefing.

Kim also mentioned that the population ministry would oversee preparations for the potential launch of the immigration agency.

The announcement, which came amid the government’s efforts to establish the immigration agency under the Ministry of Justice, has left experts puzzled about whether the population ministry will take over immigration-related policies from the justice ministry.

“From my understanding, the population ministry will be responsible for developing comprehensive immigration plans from a population perspective, while the immigration agency, after it is launched, will focus on implementing these policies,” said Yoo Min-yi, a research fellow at the Seoul-based Migration Research and Training Center.

However, Yoo noted that progress on the immigration agency has been slow, saying, “The ball now seems to be in the National Assembly’s court, but we are not seeing meaningful legislative efforts.”

Creating the immigration agency was a campaign pledge of President Yoon. With about 2.5 million foreign nationals residing in the nation — accounting for roughly 5 percent of the total 51.5 million population — Korea has been facing an increasing need to pursue cohesive immigration policies by creating a separate government entity.

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