Only 20 North Korean defectors work as public servants in South Korea, an opposition lawmaker said Sunday, the latest sign that North Koreans are struggling to join mainstream South Korean society.
The figure represents just a small fraction of the more than 22,000 North Korean defectors in South Korea.
In June, Cho Myung-chul, a former economics professor at the North’s elite Kim Il-sung University, was appointed to lead a government body in charge of educating citizens on unification with North Korea.
Cho is the first North Korean defector to become a senior government official in South Korea.
Nineteen others work in the Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, in the Seoul Metropolitan Government, and in Incheon city, as well as in Gyeonggi Province, which surrounds Seoul, according to Park Joo-sun of the opposition Democratic Party.
Separately, 38 North Korean defectors are temporary workers in the central and local governments under a program aimed at expanding employment of North Korean defectors, Park said, citing the Unification Ministry.
A recent survey showed the unemployment rate of North Korean defectors stood at 9.2 percent, about three times higher than that of South Koreans.