A South Korean program that provides incentives for local businesses to hire North Korean defectors has been completely ineffective since it launched in 2000. Deputy National Assembly Speaker Park Joo-sun said Monday the 17-year-old program has not had the desired results.
The program incentivizes businesses to hire resettled North Koreans by guaranteeing the South’s unification ministry’s “priority purchases” of the firm’s products, should a business hire seven or more defectors.
The unification ministry said there were “only two cases” of firms applying for qualification under the program. The ministry also said only a “minority” of firms made products that qualify as “priority purchase items.”
Park, who explained the program’s history to reporters, challenged the explanation from the ministry, News 1 reported. “The real story is the unification ministry did not promote the program,” Park said.
The South Korean lawmaker said employment is a critical issue for the more than 30,000 resettled North Koreans in the South. North Koreans in the South have said life in the country is difficult for economic and other reasons.