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Over half of Koreans negative about migrant workers


More than half of Koreans have a negative attitude towards foreign workers residing here, a recent survey showed.

In a survey by local pollster Gallup Korea, 54 percent of respondents said that the migration of foreign workers to Korea is “not a good thing.” The study was conducted on 1,500 Koreans aged 19 and above.

Thirty-nine percent said that it is a “good thing,” which is significantly lower than the 57 percent average across the 69 countries that participated in this global survey. The remaining 7 percent could not decide on the matter. 

The survey, carried out from October to November last year, had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

South Koreans’ perception of migrant workers appears to have turned sour compared to 20 years ago, the pollster said. In a similar survey conducted in 1994, 50 percent of respondents were favorable towards foreign workers.

According to Statistics Korea, the foreign population working in Korea stood at 938,000 as of last May, with the number having increased every year since 2010.

Among the 69 countries surveyed, China was the most positive about the issue with 81 percent answering in favor of migrant workers. Thailand was the most negative, with 78 percent in disapproval.

By Ock Hyun-ju (