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‘7 in 10 workers want to migrate’

Seven out of every 10 salaried workers here want to move to another country to live in, mainly because of the “poor” welfare policies in Korea, a survey showed Wednesday.

JobKorea, an online recruiting agency, recently surveyed 932 salaried workers online and found 76.1 percent would leave Korea for another country if circumstances allowed.

The main reason for wanting to migrate was an unsatisfactory welfare system, marking 62.5 percent, followed by widening income gaps (49.5 percent) and the jobless rate (47.8 percent). Other reasons included excessive private tuition fees for children, anxiety over the possible outbreak of war between the two Koreas and environmental pollution. Australia was seen as the most attractive country, with 14.3 percent, followed by Switzerland, Japan, Canada, France, the U.K., the U.S. and others.

Those who would not choose to leave the country said it would be hard to adjust to living abroad. They also said they would miss their relatives and friends.

“More people now put value on well-being than making lots of money through hectic work schedules. They prefer to live happily with more free time, even if that means earning less money,” said Bak Hee-je, a professor at Kyung Hee University in Seoul.

“However, Korean society is rushing to become more competitive than ever. I think that is driving people to crave for migration to those countries where the social security system and basic means of life are already settled.”

But once those wanting to emigrate to foreign countries realize that the welfare system is based on taxpayers’ money, Bak said, many will give moving a second thought.

“I don’t think many people actually migrate,” he said. “The survey just reflects how frustrated people feel here.”

By Bae Ji-sook (baejisook@heraldcorp.com)
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