Korea to overhaul services for multicultural families

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Jan 15, 2014 - 19:59
  • Updated : Jan 15, 2014 - 19:59
The government plans to streamline its support system for multicultural families to help them integrate into society, officials said Wednesday.

The move comes as some existing services, including Korean-language education, have been redundant or failed to reach those in need who are in distant rural areas.

Under the plan, immigrants can learn the Korean language at local government-designated locations in their respective neighborhoods and earn incentives that would later be helpful when they apply for citizenship, according to the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.

Currently, only those who successfully finish a Korean-language course offered by the Justice Ministry are eligible for incentives such as exemption from a written test or an interview when they apply for naturalization.

The nation’s two call immigration centers ― one for marriage immigrants and the other for foreign residents in general ― will be integrated, so they can more effectively serve the foreign population, the ministry said.

The government will also provide tailored services, such as job training, mentoring services for foreign wives and support for children, to the families based on their needs, the ministry said.

In order to simplify the various venues providing similar services, the government will launch a comprehensive family support center by integrating the existing “multicultural family support center” and “healthy family support center,” both run by the Family Ministry.

The envisioned new organization will offer various support for children raised by single parents, grandparents or North Korean defectors, as well as in multiracial families, the government said.

“There is a mounting need for the government services for multicultural families to change drastically to adapt to rapid changes in the nation’s multiracial community,” Prime Minister Chung Hong-won was quoted by Gender Equality Minister Cho Yoon-sun as saying during the meeting. (Yonhap News)