Sunday, August 7, 2011

Koreans and Immigrants

Itaewon. The most popular place in Seoul for foreigners
Saw this on Yonhap news today. Gave me a few things to think about...

Ipsos, a public opinion survey agency, released a report about how citizens of different nations feel about immigrants in their nations. Ipsos surveyed citizens from 23 nations, 16~24 years old.

This report came up with some interesting and others interesting but misleading results, I think. Read more below.

Question : Are there too many immigrants in your nation?
% of 'Yes' : Japan 15%, Korea 24%, Poland 29%, Indonesia 36%, Mexico 37%, Russia 77%, Belgium 72%, UK 71%, Italy 67%, Spain 67%
Average : 52%

Question : Are immigrants becoming too much of a burden for public services such as education and transportation, because there are too many of them?
% of 'Yes' : Korea 25%, Poland 27%, Japan 28%, Mexico 33%, Indonesia 33%, Australia 64%, USA 66%, Belgium 68%, Spain 70%, UK 76%
Average : 51%

Question: Has your nation become more interesting to live in because of immigrants?
% of 'Yes' : Russia 12%, Spain 18%, Japan 18%, Italy 18%, Belgium 19%, Korea 22%, Sweden 44%, Australia 46%, India 46%, Canada 48%, Brazil 48%
Average : 31%

Question : Are immigrants good for economy?
% of 'Yes' : Hungary 13%, Turkey 14%, Russia 15%, South Africa 18%, Belgium 18%, Korea 30%, Canada 43%, India 46%, Brazil 47%
Average: 28%

And here's my problem with this news : the title of the article says "Koreans have the least problem with immigrants". Surely, there is a lot less demonizing of immigrants in South Korea compared to, I don't know... the United States (hello, Arizona?). Still, Koreans have always looked down on foreigners that aren't white. And when one says "foreigner" in Korea, the word more or less means the group of immigrants from South Asia who mostly work in construction or factory jobs.

So how did they get this kind of result? Granted, I have not seen the whole report, nor do I know how the research was done. I tried to find the report but the website required subscription.

Maybe the general public has grown more mature in the decade I was gone from Korea. Maybe these results are simply misleading. Or maybe, just maybe, they just don't care much. I wonder.

Source : "한국인, 이민자에 부담감 가장 적어"<입소스>

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