Immigration imperative to bail South Korea out
To avoid population and societal decline of South Korea, it is mandatory that citizens of this country should have more babies and they should welcome more immigrants.
The South Korean government has been striving to increase its birth rate to offset its population decline since the 1970s. It is because the women of this country have postponed their age of marrying and childbearing. The average age for marrying for South Korean women has grown to 30 in 2015, up from 25 in the 1990s. In addition, most South Korean mothers don’t bear their first child until they enter their 30s.
David Hundt, Deakin University, writing in the East Asia Forum said that moves such as providing childcare payments have managed to increase the birth rate to 1.29 in 2015, an increase from 1.08 in 2003. This has seen more girls being born in this East Asian country, bringing down the disparity between males and females. For instance, there were 117 Korean boys for every 100 girls of that country in 1990. By 2012, it decreased to 106 boys for every 100 Korean girls in 2012.
At the same time, the declining birth rates and the overall shortage of girls have reduced the number of suitable couples who can parent children. That said, South Korean cannot only depend on these couples to sustain its population. Therefore, it needs more immigrants to prevent its population from declining. It is also a good sign that most citizens of South Korea support more immigration. In fact, the young literate people of this country say that they are more comfortable having foreigners around them and advocate granting of South Korean citizenship to foreigners.
Meanwhile, the foreign-born population of the Republic of Korea also cannot compare with that of Canada, Australia or the United States. This, in fact, made its government introduce the OKA (Overseas Koreans Act) in 1999 to entice well-to-do expatriate South Koreans to come back by offering them dual citizenship. If this programme could be beefed up by not forcing people to opt for military service, it would attract more of them to return to South Korea. In addition, welcoming of non-ethnic South Koreans would spell good tidings for the country’s economic development.
With countries like the United States and the United Kingdom becoming more restrictionist of late, it would be better for developed countries in Asia to attract skilled immigrants on to their territories by offering them dual citizenship, which, if managed well, can put the country on par with Western economies such as Australia and New Zealand.
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