South Korea to increase benefits for North Korean defectors

The South Korean government will raise the subsidy given to North Korean defectors when they are first getting settled in the South. The Unification Ministry on Sunday said it will gradually raise both the resettlement payment and housing expenses for defectors, which currently is W7 million ($5947) and W13 million ($11,045) per person.

From 1998 and 2004, the government initially paid every defector W37 million ($31,435) towards getting settled, when the Roh Moo-hyun administration halved the subsidy.

Defector groups point out that it is difficult to settle in with the current payout given that they have often spent all their money on traffickers, plus incurred fines in third countries like Laos and Thailand.

The ministry also pledged to create public-sector jobs for defectors, to help them integrate, and encourage more private firms to hire them.

[Chosun Ilbo]

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