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World S Korea accepts just 164 of nearly 6,000 asylum seekers

09:45  02 november  2020
09:45  02 november  2020 Source:   aljazeera.com

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An influx of nearly 1, 000 Yemeni asylum seekers into the South Korean resort island of Jeju has triggered a fierce backlash against immigration rules that many South Koreans perceive to be lax and dangerous to the well-being Japan and South Korea ' s tough asylum policies. 'People are worried'.

South Korea has accepted just 164 asylum seekers this year from nearly 6,000 who applied despite coronavirus travel curbs, according to government data.

a person walking down a busy city street: South Korea accepted the applications of just 164 asylum seekers between January and August [File: Heo Ran/Reuters] © South Korea accepted the applications of just 164 asylum seekers between January and August [File: H... South Korea accepted the applications of just 164 asylum seekers between January and August [File: Heo Ran/Reuters]

Immigration is a contentious issue in South Korea, where many pride themselves on ethnic homogeneity, even as its population of 51 million rapidly ages and the labour force shrinks.

The figure of 5,896 applicants for refugee status between January and August was down about 36 percent from the corresponding period last year, data from the justice ministry showed last week.

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Asylum Applications in South Korea decreased to 839 Persons in September from 1059 Persons in August of 2018. Asylum Applications in South Korea is expected to be 760.00 Persons by the end of this quarter, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts expectations.

Dozens of asylum seekers are being accommodated at hotels across the country for weeks on end at a cost to the taxpayer of thousands of pounds, it has emerged. With spending money of £5 a day on top of full board, the cost under a taxpayer-funded contract is likely to be as much as £10, 000 -a-week.

Russians topped the list of applicants at nearly 18 percent, followed by people from Egypt, Kazakhstan, Malaysia and India.

Only about 4 percent of the 4,019 who completed the screening process were accepted or granted residency for humanitarian reasons, although not recognised as refugees, a rate less than the 6 percent of 2019 and 16 percent of 2018, the data showed.

South Korea began accepting refugee applications in 1994 in line with the UN refugee convention. The number of asylum seekers has risen sharply since it became the first Asian nation to adopt its own refugee law in 2013, peaking at 16,173 in 2018.

But the government clamped down after a sudden spike in Yemeni arrivals in the southern resort island of Jeju that year stoked protests.

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An asylum seeker on Nauru was sent to Taiwan to have kidney stones removed last year on a private jet - costing the Australian taxpayer 0, 000 . The medivac bill means asylum seekers can be transferred from Nauru or Manus Island to Australia for medical or psychiatric treatment.

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan accepted 11 asylum seekers out of a record 5, 000 applications in 2014, Ministry of Justice data showed, drawing criticism from advocates and lawyers that the country is not doing enough to provide protection to refugees. The number of asylum applications rose 53 percent

Defectors from neighbouring North Korea are not regarded as asylum seekers and automatically receive citizenship.

In Europe, although asylum applications have also plummeted this year amid border closures against the virus, many countries have sheltered hundreds of thousands of refugees stricken by war and poverty.

But few Asian nations, including Japan, have been keen to accept more refugees.

New York-based Human Rights Watch criticised Seoul’s strict refugee policy this year, urging more acceptance and transparency in application reviews.

The justice ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment from the Reuters news agency.

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