For a Brighter Future, Young Koreans Eager to Move Abroad

Article from Maeil Business:

“I will leave Korea.”: Young South Koreans Join Emigration ‘Gye’.

ÈÞ°¡Ã¶ ºÏÀûÀÌ´Â °øÇ×
Translation note: The Korean term, gye [계(契)], is a type of club where each member pitches in a small amount of money in order to accumulate enough for a large financial goal. Either the members use the club funds for a group purpose (such as a trip), or the club funds are used to fund each individual member on a rotating basis.

Kim Hyo-won(26) graduated from a prestigious women’s university in Seoul and is working at a financial company in Yeouido. Last year she organized an emigration ‘gye’ with four of her friends to financially prepare for moving to Finland. Every month they must transfer five hundred thousand won as dues, in accordance with a rule they set themselves. So far they have saved about ten million won. All the members are “S” University, “Y” University, and other prestigious university graduates and now working at companies that pay them well. Kim emphasized, “After I enter a graduate school in Finland, I will settle down there. It’s different from Korea. I would expect to be able to enjoy my free time after work in Finland.”

“Emigration Fever” has been spreading like wildfire among young people in their 20s who have just started working. They organize ‘gye’ for preparing their finances, and also share key information about emigration including foreign language study resources.

To become suitable immigrants, some of them are learning new skills needed in their country of choice.

Lee Sang-ho(29) has been working in the human resource department at a major company after graduating with a liberal arts major at “S” University. Every weekend he goes to an automobile mechanical engineering institute. He is planning on completing an automobile mechanics and maintenance certificate in order to move to Northern Europe as a skilled migrant. Skilled migrants have an easier time obtaining permanent residency than regular applicants.

A spokesperson for a welding institute for people who want to move to Canada let said, “We have everyone from England’s elite ‘Oxbridge’ (a word combining Oxford and Cambridge) Economics Ph.D.’s, to Seoul National University graduates. Can’t help but be surprised that such highly educated people like this are studying welding to be able to emigrate.”

Denmark, Sweden and other Northern European countries, which are known for their good welfare systems, are the most preferred immigration destinations among recent graduates in Korea. According to the report about the current status of overseas Koreans by the Ministry Of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the number of Korean people living in Denmark grew from 239 in 2011 to 538 in 2013, showing a 83.6 percent increase.

The reasons for emigrating to developed countries is simple. They find that living in Korea is getting tougher every day, especially for the younger generation thanks to the rising cost of education, reduced pension benefits, and the high cost of housing. Beyond these, the Korean social focus on competition – working late-night overtime at the office, [competition] in a recession, and severe stress are influencing the desire to emigrate. As every nation becomes more globalized, the walls that were built between countries are breaking down. Younger people worry less about going to a new environment and learning a new language than those from older generations.

Last year Lee Chang-min(29), a graduate from Seoul National University, left a company he had worked at for two years to move abroad. He had worked in the strategy and marketing department and made a decent salary. The starting salary at the company was about 40 million won. However, he and his wife decided to move to a new country after considering the cost of child-rearing and education.

Experts say younger people choosing to move abroad in the global era should be welcomed. However, they need to be aware of leaving Korea without a definite plan. Oh Jeong-eun, a manager of research and training at the International Organization for Migration and Migration Research and Training Center, said, “It is still quiet an outlier for a skilled migrant to find a better life abroad. There is no particular reason for developed countries to employ Koreans. The younger generation should make a careful and considered judgement on whether or not they will emigrate.”

Some people see the emigration fever among Koreans in their 20s as an expression of their disappointment in the realities of living in Korea. Jeong Dong-il, professor of business administration at Yonsei University emphasized, “Young people want to leave because of the perceived inability to reach their potential within Korea. The government should set up some countermeasures, with Korea 20 years from now in mind. Also, companies should give opportunities to young people who are open-minded about new experiences, and have excellent foreign language skills.”

Comments from Daum:


Of course they want to leave Korea. Who wants to live in this kind of country?


So jealous… I’m jealous of them leaving Korea and their skills that make it possible. If there is someone who tells people to go to North Korea if they don’t like Korea, why don’t YOU go to North Korea.


If you are able, then leave! This country is supporting the damn Saenuri Party for Cheabols and vested interests. There is no hope!


I also would like to leave this shit country.


All of those emigrants don’t have money. Korea is the best country to live if you have money. If you don’t have money at the moment, and if you find it hard to earn lots of money, emigration is the answer.


It is not the young who turn their backs on Korea, but Korea who first turned its back on the young.


I’m moving north because of Governor Hong Junpyo.


Koreans work hard and even their labor costs are cheap. Korean workers have a competitive edge abroad.

짙은 눈썹님

In Korea, life is getting harder for Koreans and easier for foreigners. The government makes special policies for foreigners.


You should leave while you can! People in their 50s and 60s can’t even if they want to. It’s sad to say this but there is no hope left in Korea.


I am 35 years old and am studying English to move to another country. Let’s all leave until the young have all left Korea.

미련한 곰님

It’s amazing. In just 7 years this country became just like the Philippines. 10 years ago people hoped Korea would through reunification become a country to brag about. If Korea becomes just like the Philippines, I refuse to die alone.


Even the people leaving Korea also seem to depend on their educational background. ㅠ ㅠ I’m so jealous.


To those who made Korea this way, are you happy about it? I think it would be too hard for me, but I want to send my children to live abroad.


I will tell my own children to leave if they are able.


I’m also eager to leave this country.

James Kim님

If you are incompetent, you will fail even in a foreign country. To be successful you must try hard and overcome language barriers. Don’t think it’s so easy. You know how they say that if a bowl is leaky at home, it still leaks when you take it outside? If you want to leave Korea, you should prepare yourself to overcome difficulties in a foreign country.

Share This Article
Help us maintain a vibrant and dynamic discussion section that is accessible and enjoyable to the majority of our readers. Please review our Comment Policy »
  • Korean Numbers And Statistics

    “the number of Korean people living in Denmark grew from 239 in 2011 to 538 in 2013, showing 83.6 percentage of increase.”

    Woe! That’s a whopping 83.6% increase! Korean immigration to Northern Europe is exploding! From 239 people to 538 people only in two years! Explosive numbers I tell ya!

  • Guest

    They think immigrating to ‘developed’ countries can solve all their problems. But once the rose coloured glasses comes off, they will see the realities. If they work minimum jobs here in Canada, it’s ten bucks an hour, but at least a quarter of that goes towards paying income taxes, insurances, and other deductions, as well as dealing with higher costs, which all makes salaries that aren’t much better than the $5 bucks an hour that Korean minimum wage provides in Korea. I had Koreans who were on working holiday VISA’s, who were looking for jobs, who say they didn’t mind washing dishes and working in petrol stations as cashiers – or anything they can get. Some even didn’t mind catching worms. So I ask them, Korea is full of those kinds of jobs, it’s easier to get those kinds of jobs in Korea, why come all the way here to work in those 3-D jobs? Their answer? Well in Korea, if you take those kinds of jobs, you’re considered failures and you’ll face humiliation from friends, family, society. But go to a new country and work in 3-D jobs, and you don’t have to worry that others are thinking bad things about you and your family, because nobody cares.

    So what this all boils down to is this. It’s not that South Korea is a bad place to live, it’s that South Koreans are making it into a bad place to live, with expectations of social statuses that few can meet, match, and uphold. It’s the mindset that needs to change in Korea, to appreciate what life can bring outside of work and school. Don’t blame the country or even the system, blame the people who brings those excessive competitive system.

    • Guest

      By the way, Koreans have some terrible wrong ideals about welfare in the West. To quality for welfare in Canada, you have to jump through the hoop to get them, and the amount is not very much. If you want welfare, you have to give up your car, you cannot own a home, and the assigned social workers will constantly check up on you to make sure you are indeed poor enough to get a monthly stipend of around $1000 – hardly enough to live on in Canada, but enough to live hand to mouth existence in grime. The unemployment insurance lasts for one year, and it’s only 50% to 60% of what you used to get, and it can’t be more than $2000 a month. The health insurance is free and universal. But the price you pay is that to go to a doctor, you have to make an appointment during work hours, wait one to two hours to see the doctor. There are long line up of patients for certain tests and procedures (and many people die while they wait), and you may end up waiting to get a hospital bed if you’re seriously hurt. Forget about fancy medical tests done with latest medical equipments that Koreans are used to. Lot of the hospitals are in poor shape, especially compared to Korea. The medicine is very expensive compared to Korea. The Canadian pensions are no panecea either unless you were a civil servant. Most privately owned companies do not provide pension schemes, so it is up to you to plan for retirement. The average government run old age and workers pension add up only up to $1300 a month for each individual. That amount only hardly pays for monthly rent, and you cannot survive with that money in Canada.

      And if you add up all the tax load that includes income tax, sales tax, sur tax, property tax, transportation tax, and all the hidden taxes – the average tax loads on middle class people are about 40% to 50%. How would Koreans in Korea like to give up half of their income to the government and return get all the low benefits that Koreans aspire so much to? In Canada, it’s very tough to make money and get rich. The system is geared so that the more you make, the more they take out of you, which kills the incentive to make you work harder to attain what you want. Maybe that’s what Koreans want for their country?

      Also Canadians do not appreciate foreigners immigrating to Canada to get welfare, so bugger off! Don’t come here to take advantage of our system, which only increases our tax burden!

      • troll harder

        You ending stance implies that Korean’s want to come to Canada for welfare benefits is utter hogwash. The vast majority of Koreans that immigrate to Canada either are self employed (running a small business) or working for land good paying jobs.

        Do you know any Korean’s on Welfare? I only know seniors that are on CPP, only because they worked and contributed to the CPP.

        I am 1/2 Korean and 1/2 Japanese, born and raised in Canada (I say Canada because I had lived in… Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey, Regina, and currently in Toronto)… I personally met any Korean (or Japanese at that) in Canada that is on welfare. This by no means is stating that none exist but it speaks to the point that Korean’s (and Japanese) do not come to Canada looking to jump on the “gravy train”. This thing called face drives them hard to work to make ends meet and not look for handouts…

        Now to the rest of your post, you believe you are correct. From my understanding it’s hard to get on and stay on Welfare here, which is a good thing. I stress the “believe” because I had never needed nor attempted to apply for welfare nor am I going to try to verify the process.

        • troll harder

          Typo ” I personally met any Korean (or Japanese at that) in Canada that is on welfare.” should read as ” I personally had NOT met any Korean (or Japanese at that) in Canada that is on welfare.”

          • David

            Actually it is “I personally have not met any Koreans (or Japanese for that matter) in Canada that are on welfare”

        • Channing

          A lot of Koreans get welfare in Australia.
          Mum and Dad get permanent residence kidfs become citizens and get welfare. A lot lie on tax so you’ll see parents with 2 BMWs and business owners have 2-3 kids on Austudy. That is a trend with East Asians namely Koreans and Chinese.

          They also are more communal and help out to cheat the system.

          Still they bow down to the white man. it’s why Korean doctor will marry a redneck and suffer Domestic Violence and sexual battery. White’s alright!

      • Claude

        The comment section was interesting in this piece I’m posting. Interesting stories from the disgruntled.

  • Xman2014

    What Koreans really want is not welfare. What they really want is a break from excessive competitiveness and a life away from pressures and societal expectations surrounding material wealth. It is ingrained in Korean people’s nature to compete because Korea has too many people all chasing after and competing for the same limited resources. Many people are tired. They want to rest, but they can’t because they care too much about what others will think. So their answer is to go somewhere where they don’t have to worry about what other Koreans think.

    • bigmamat

      It wouldn’t surprise me if their desire to leave isn’t completely tied up in economic concerns. Korean society is also very socially repressive and conformist. There is the “age” problem which encourages bullying even past the typical high school years. There are the unhealthy “beauty standards” that encourage eating disorders and plastic surgery. The old world ideas of women’s role in society that sends educated women back into the kitchen after marriage. I don’t find it strange at all that the most adventurous and brave of korean youth would rather leave than waste their time fighting against a system that is not changing rapidly enough for them.

      • Chucky3176

        Korea has too many people packed into such a small geographic area. It would be great if the population is about half of what it is today, with lot more room for people to move around. Happiest countries are the ones that are sparsely populated. All rat lab experiments have shown that the more crowded the space, the more stressful the rats become, causing them to fight each other more often, compared to the space where there were fewer but happier rats. Humans are not much different. Even China with their 1.65 billion people, is probably in a better shape than South Korea. China’s population density per square miles is less than South Korea’s. The only hope for South Korea is to reunite with North Korea someday, and move some of the population in the south to the north, to free up space.

        • bigmamat

          Novel idea, everything doesn’t have to be located in Seoul. Fifty million people is not a lot and the birth rate is very low. Korea’s social and economic problems do not stem from overcrowding. Overcrowding is a symptom not a cause.

          • redwhitedude

            Koreans need to move abroad to get away from all this socially stiffling things in Korea. Also you got competition in Korea amongst Koreans which isn’t healthy. If everybody is pushed to be very competitive to get to top universities and such it isn’t healthy. Compare that to the US those that are willing to push themselves get in while those that don’t won’t. Its far healthier than the difference between those that make it and those that don’t is a matter of a couple of points or even fraction of points. You look at Koreans in the US, they are overrepresented in certain universities and professional schools. If everybody was Korean like in Korea, somebody has to make it and somebody has to fail. Not really fair way to going about it.

          • bigmamat

            If this were 40 years ago I’d say that being successful in America means more than what school you attended and how much money you make, but it wouldn’t have been true. It certainly isn’t now. Americans aren’t really any better. We don’t have a healthier social climate than koreans, it’s just as bad. People are people, we are just as shallow, self serving and competitive as koreans. We have a tremendous divide between the “haves” and “have nots”. We undoubtedly have a large amount of people here who are doomed from the start. Hard work doesn’t matter, upright living, none of it matters. The idea that anybody can succeed here with enough hard work is a great American myth. Then there is the more important question of how do you measure success.

          • redwhitedude

            True. But Koreans have this habit compared to Americans of really engaging in “ridiculous” expending for their kids sake. However in a way America does have a healthier climate in that it isn’t as socially stiffling.

          • bigmamat

            I disagree on both points. Americans also spend ridiculous amounts of money, time and effort on raising their kids. Not only that white america lives in fear of everything. We won’t even let our kids play outside without being stuck up their asses for fear of strangers. We’ve pretty much neutered two generations of kids with our hovering and paranoia. Not to mention we’ve crippled them so they can’t even make decisions on their own. Let’s not even talk about how aggressive and violent they’ve become because we are fucking afraid of everything from ISIS to the ice cream man.

          • redwhitedude

            But then there are large swaths of America who are just trashed.

          • bigmamat

            Oh yeah.

        • Guy Forget

          Chucky, I normally agree with you but you are so wrong about the the popluation density of Korea. In fact, the land size of South Korea is good enough to hold some 100 million people and that wouldn’t be a stretch. Countries like Bangladesh, Vietnam, Philippines, and cities like Singapore, Hong Kong have either a higher population or a higher population density and really, it’s not a huge problem. Besides, South Korea’s population will dwindle by half in 30 to 35 years (native Koreans that is) thanks to the ultra low fertility rate since everyone is so preoccupied with materialism and hedonistic values rather than focusing on what’s the most important thing in this world, and that is people, families, children etc.

          Over population is NOT a problem in South Korea at all. It’s actually the opposite. South Korea NEEDS MORE PEOPLE. They need more natural growth, otherwise, native Koreans will just become a minority in their own country by the turn of the century.

          I’d also like to add that while it’s easy to think that Korea has too many people just by looking at Seoul (millions crammed in a city), the rural towns are becoming ghost towns. There are NO people in the rural areas. Towns are empty. There’s so much space and so much room out in the rural areas because everyone is moving to the urban centers, so that creates the illusion that Korea has too many people. If a stadium that seats 50,000 people are only filled to 12,000, one would say that it is an “empty” stadium that needs more people. But if I took those 12,000 and crammed them into a room that’s in the stadium, everyone would say that the stadium is overcrowded and has way too many people. The reality is, the stadium doesn’t have enough people and more people needed, which is why Korea is bringing millions of migrant workers. Korea actually has set up language centers and institutions in countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Philippines, Africa etc., to train and prepare these future “koreans” to be fluent in the language, culture, customs, and by the time they arrive, they will settle in so easily as if they were actually koreans . This is why the mainstream culture of Korea right now is undergoing a rigorous and breakneck pace of flooding tv shows, commercials, variety shows, movies etc with foreigner actors to prepare Korea for what’s coming. Right now, there’s unbelievably high amount of foreigners on korean tv, becoming celebrities simply for being a foreigner who can speak fluent korean, mimic korean behaviour and nuances, or having a different color skin. It’s about 15 to 20% of korean commercials are now made up of foreigners….which is way over-representation of the actual foreigner population in Korea (3% now but rapidly will grow to 8 to 10% in 20 years).

          • Koreans

            South Korea or Korean Peninsula as a whole holds many good lands not used. I would say Korean Peninsula can hold 110-120 Million at least.

    • DisqusTruth

      Korean outdated system that needs work.

  • Ibyangin

    Koreans should stand up and fight for a livable society! Stop judging each other, start not begrudging other people if they are more succesful. Koreans are very good in ruining each other just like a dog chasing it’s own tale till he’s exhausted. It’s a very unhealthy society. No wonder young people want to leave this hell hole. Koreans should stop focusing on economic growth, it should be pretty much clear to everyone that too much focus on economic growth will get you results that are at the expense of social happiness and general quality of life.

    Just a few days ago I read on every major news outlet that Korea might surpass France in 2020 in terms of GDP etc. Koreans were very excited about this prospect. Who fucking cares! Korea is years and years at the bottom when it’s about suicide rates among young people and among the senior citizens. In what kind of country do old people have to push carts collecting paper, cardboard and plastic just to be able to feed themselves for another day?

    When I think of Korea, I think of that huge potential and wonderful promise that the Korean nation could become but it’s less and less likely every day.

    • Xman2014

      “Just a few days ago I read on every major news outlet that Korea might surpass France in 2020 in terms of GDP etc. Koreans were very excited about this prospect”

      I don’t think there’s any Korean excited about what the media prints. They know it doesn’t change anything. It’s funny you mention France, I saw a Korean documentary about a young couple, a French boyfriend and his Korean girlfriend living on Jeju Island. The couple didn’t have any meaningful job other then busking for money in public places. They were poor, didn’t have much money, but they were very happy with their lives doing what they liked to do. But the Korean mother who lived near their place, couldn’t stand the fact that they didn’t have jobs. She was completely stressed out and worrying about the future of the couple. She kept badgering the girl and her boyfriend, about getting a job and start making money to have kids and a house… etc etc. She couldn’t leave the couple alone to make their own choices – to the point it was causing a relationship problem with the mother and her daughter. Much of the documentary on TV I’ve seen portraying Western men with Korean women, Western men seemed always have the life-work balance in well balanced order. Those international couples seem much more happier (at least on surface) doing things that they love to do. Maybe that’s why so many Koreans idolize the life in the West.

  • Robz Sarmy

    Funny enough The Philippines is swamp by koreans

    • Xman2014

      Nice beaches, cheap living costs, cheap English lessons, and minus the crime and poverty, what’s not to like about the Philippines? It’s the South Korea’s version of Mexico.

      • redwhitedude

        True. As long as you know what you are doing and where not to go.

    • Sillian

      The Philippines has popular vacation destinations and offers affordable English lessons for Koreans. Great for those foreigners. However, their economic and political situation for the natives is one of the last examples Koreans would want to follow.

    • guest
      • 금정산


      • Toe

        Sex tourism in southeast countries? no way! as if your government even does enough to stop it.

  • ytuque

    Isn’t it ironic that Koreans leave their country expecting foreigners to welcome them with open arms while being intolerant of foreigners in their own country?

    • Xman2014

      Just because a few of them are just frustrated and say they want to leave, that doesn’t mean they’re really going to immigrate. This is just their way of saying we’ve had enough, we want change, we want European style welfares. In truth, South Korea’s emigration in the last few years have completely nosedived to only about 249 in 2014

      • ytuque

        A few are frustrated? Have you ever read any surveys about how unhappy Koreans are? Try reading some OECD country surveys.

      • ytuque

        BTW, do you believe the emigration statistic is valid? It doesn’t count the Koreans who travel abroad for study in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia, and of that, a significant percentage will remain. It also doesn’t include the work visas issued by Canada and Australia.

    • 금정산

      How Koreans are intolerant of foreigners? I think Koreans’ expectations of foreigners are pretty reasonable; and at times even too accommodating.

      • ytuque

        You’re a moron if you believe that. Do you read the news or do you get your information from video games you play at the PC Bang?

        • 금정산

          In the seven times I’ve been to Korea I have met many foreigners and immigrants from Western and SE Asian countries. I imagine this is better than you pulling shite out of your arse.

          • ytuque

            The immigrants from SE Asia are having a lovely time in S. Korea? You obviously are a Korean pretending to be a foreigner., some white guy blinded by yellow fever.

          • Toe

            So what he says is wrong, despite having personal experience with foreigners in Korea, but an article you read online makes you right? come on, the only way to see if this is true is to go see it for yourself.

            yes, there will be foreigners that are treated like crap, but there will also be foreigners that live an awesome life with no problems and assimilate. you can’t just pick all the bad apples.

          • ytuque

            I lived in S. Korea for 6 years. It’s the only country I’ve been to where random people stop you in the street and tell you to get out of their country.

          • 금정산

            Maybe it wasn’t because you were a foreigner; but because you’re a tool.

            Just kidding. Nobody believes you.

          • ytuque

            Yeah, ignore the research and eat your kimchi.

          • Terrik

            I worked for Koreans in China. They were intolerant of anyone but themselves.

          • ytuque

            Yes, that is what the research shows.

          • bumfromkorea

            Haha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.


          • Warren Lauzon

            I never had that happen.

          • 금정산

            Actually, I don’t like Korean girls; Korean girls like me.

      • ytuque
        • 금정산

          Firstly, you said foreigners, not immigrants (there is a difference). Second, the article doesn’t at all explain how “Koreans Get More Intolerant of Immigrants (sic)”.

          It merely says 1. X% think immigrants are helpful to the economy. 2. X% are taking jobs away from Koreans.

          It says “And just 38 percent said immigrants are categorically taking jobs away from Koreans, down from a more tolerant 46.8 percent in 2003, suggesting that the climate is getting more intolerant in tough times.”

          The article doesn’t explain anything; and neither did you.

          • ytuque

            Did you even understand the headline “Koreans Get More Intolerant of Immigrants”? Or the first sentence: “Fewer than half of Koreans now regard immigrants favorably, according to a straw poll”?

          • 금정산

            I just gave you the “conclusion” from the straw poll – it’s bullocks.

          • ytuque

            If you disagree, cite a study showing Koreans are tolerant of foreigners. Good luck with that!

          • 금정산

            You’re making yourself look like a troll.

          • ytuque

            I simply challenged you to back up your opinion with something other than anecdotes. You failed miserably!

          • ytuque

            Have you found a study showing Koreans are tolerant of foreigners? It’s been a year already, and you haven’t been able to back up your words!

          • Xman2014

            Fewer than half of Koreans or 48% regard immigrants favorably, yes you are right. But what you didn’t mention is that only 16.9 percent who didn’t regard immigrants favorably. Statistically, that means, majority of Koreans favor immigration?

          • ytuque

            Yes, but every 6th Korean you encounter will be strongly intolerant of foreigners. Walking down the street in Korea on a given day, how many people do you meet?

          • Xman2014

            That doesn’t mean every 6th Korean you encounter will be “strongly intolerant of foreigners”. It only means every sixth Korean you encounter on street is against immigration. They maybe against immigration, but they may not mind tourists and students. You simply can’t tell. Which country do you come from? What’s the percentage of people in your country favors immigration?

          • Warren Lauzon

            Compare this to Japan, where they are almost universally opposed to immigrants. Japan has one of the strictest immigration policies in the world (meanwhile it is OK to import near-slave labor “interns” for the dirty work).

      • Ibyangin

        It depends on what kind of foreigner you are. If you have the right skincolor and the right passport, Korea could be a very accommodating place.

        Somehow, Korea being a member of the OECD, having a Korean as an UN SG, becoming a development donor instead of a recipient really gave Koreans the air that they are superior to other developing nations and that they can now dwell among their peers (Japan, Europe, N-America, Australia etc.)

        That’s why every foreigner, whether you are Canadian or Congolese, can feel how Koreans react differently to them based on their skincolor and nationality.

        • Smith_90125

          No kidding.

          When I was there, I was constantly inundated and assaulted with “fucking USA!” and “go home” when they heard me speaking English.

          When I responded to belligerent Koreans by speaking French (“Manger de la marde” or other similar things they did not understand), they shut up and left me alone.

    • Toe

      Koreans go abroad, open businesses and help the local economy, they aren’t going for easy money, just a better life. How can you compare?

      • ytuque

        And why do foreigners come to Korea, for the kimchi and rice?

        • Toe.

          Many come to teach English with no plans to stay and will leave as soon as they make what they need. More people come to Korea to do this than the people that leave Korea for a better life and future for their children.

          And you make it seem like Korea is intolerant of foreigners, you can see more non Koreans on TV and it’s better than say a couple years back, and Koreans don’t expect countries to accept them with open arms, matter of fact, the numbers of Korean that emigrate each year are in the low thousands.

          Your comment was random and had nothing to do with the article. What does Koreans wanting to leave for a better life have to do with their treatment of foreigners? They are doing it for themselves.

          • ytuque

            English teachers are a small fraction of immigrants in Korea.

          • Toe

            yep, plenty of people come from poor countries to make a living, and the Korean government has many programs for immigrants. There are schools for multicultural children, Korean classes for the migrants, and many more.

            foreigners aren’t treated as bad as you think they are, actually, some of them get better treatment then Koreans.

            if anything, Korea is opening their arms, just because some people might not be ok with it, doesn’t mean the government isn’t trying.

          • ytuque

            I have to question whether you are newly arrived in S. Korea or just completely clueless.

            Please take a look at this study, and not countries in red are intolerant.


          • Sillian

            FYI, there were some errors with the map. Hong Kong and Bangladesh shouldn’t be that red (26.8% and 28.3%) and Japan shouldn’t be blue (22.3%).



          • Toe

            Are you from Korea?

          • Ibyangin

            The government does try to make an effort to welcome foreigners in Korea. However, their policy is not as effective as they want it to be, in some cases it’s actually contra-productive. Besides, the general public criticises the Korean government for making the policy and measures too friendly for foreigners.

            The best and first things that the Korean government should do, is to legislate anti-discrimination laws and enforce them. As long as that hasn’t happened, Korea is among the OECD countries a pretty unwelcoming xenophobic place to live.

          • Toe

            All i can say is give it time, Asian countries have not had a history with immigrants like Western countries, so it’s not very surprising they are lacking behind countries that had longer histories of migrants.

            many migrants have established themselves in other countries, have jobs in the government, high positions, so on so forth. korea is a pretty homogenous country, with immigrants making up only 1% or so of the population.

            the more immigrants come, the more they assimilate, and they can then help other immigrants assimilate, so in a way, i believe the more immigrants there are, the better.

          • Leonardo

            Well dunno if the they go for the rice and kimchi, but who’s to blame when your mom suck cock for a living?

            Respect, dude.

          • ytuque

            Leonardo, Most elementary school children can think of a better insult. The retarding effect of living in Korea.

          • James

            White’s are alright, Blacks and browns are frowned.
            If I was white I’d go fuck as many Korean bitches, which is exactly what the Europeans and White’s from US and Australia did.

            Koreans sicken me they are hypocritical jerks. At least with money I can hate fuck as many Korean girls.

          • Toe

            Yea you’d definitely have to pay for sex, thanks for helping the economy.

          • 금정산

            I met a guy from a small African country. He was studying at a Korean university and was quite popular with the girls. He told me that he really liked Korea because Koreans are generally very kind and welcoming.

            That being said, I’ve known Koreans who tell me all about racial prejudice. It’s true that Koreans favour white faces.

            But you know what, most Koreans girls are conservative. The type of promiscuous Korean girl who would spread for a random foreigner is rare. I bet these girls want to try something different and don’t really care if a guy is white or black. Don’t forget your condom. But for a relationship, yeah they would probably favour a white face.

    • Hwang Dongseong

      I blame on government policy rather than people. What developed countries allow immigrant to low skilled and low salary worker? If you are low skilled worker, you never have a chance to work in US or Northern Europe. It’s very stupid to allow low skilled worker from poor countries and make local people compete with them. If I’m low skilled worker, I would hate the foreign workers.

      • Bruiser Brody

        Ummm. Have you actually been to Europe. Almost every western European country has a pretty decent chunk of low skilled workers. Its one of the reasons for the problems Europe is going through at the moment, socially, but somewhat economic too. You think they only have skilled immigrants? If only. Go walk around the streets of Rotterdam, Hamburg, or Birmingham. They are filled with low skilled workers who have come into Europe either illegally or through family repatriation or refugee status.

        • Hwang Dongseong

          I live in Scandinavia. I know there are full of Moroccon in Amsterdam and full of Muslim in Western Europe, especially France. However, it’s not easy anymore to immigrate like that. IMO accepting merciful immigration was big mistake of Europe. Korea should learn from this.
          In addition I hardly see Muslim in my area.

          • Ibyangin

            What about muslims? Anything wrong with muslims? Is there anything you want to imply?

          • Ashley Banks

            Isn’t it already implied lol

          • Ibyangin

            Well, I like to keep an open mind and try not follow the implicit implications… so that’s why I’m inviting him to elaborate a little bit more on his remark of muslims.

          • Adam

            muslims are the filth of planet earth, islam is the reason why multicuturalism is failing in the west, they won’t assimilate and they think they are in the wedt caz their Allah is helping them spread islam all over the globe.

          • takasar1

            Somebody need a hug?? That and Vaseline

          • takasar1

            Moroccans are Muslims…..
            On the contrary, from an economic/demographic perspective, immigration was the best thing they could have done. Either that or end up like Japan

          • Probotector

            No, they’re Arabs. Muslim is a religion, not an ethnicity.

      • Ibyangin

        Please be informed before stating your opinions. Low skilled workers could and still can get a greencard to the US through the ‘Greencard Lottery’. In most countries in Europe most of the immigrants were low-skilled because at that time because there was a huge demand for low-skilled labor. Different times, different circumstances. With hindsight knowledge everyone can judge.

        I would like to add that in the 50’s and 60’s Germany allowed a lot of Koreans to emigrate to Germany. They had jobs available for them in the mines, factories etc. Korea was very poor at that time. Stupid mistake of Germany to allow low-skilled Koreans from a poor country to emigrate to Germany?

        • bumfromkorea

          Yes. You literally have to win a lottery to get a green card as a low skilled worker.

          There’s a reason low-skilled Central Americans are jumping the border instead of “doing it the right way”.

    • B.

      Nope. I’d give you a big hug, because you obviously need one. Your life must be really pathetic based on your 34353 butthurt comments.

      Poor creature.

      • ytuque

        Given Koreans have the highest suicide rate in the developed world, you best go hug a Korean.

        • Toe.

          As if you are a happy person yourself, you are mad at nothing. Have you made an effort to help the foreigners that the Koreans have failed to help? Or are you just going to tell us how intolerant Koreans are while doing nothing about it. You are a very bitter person, and you definitely need a hug.

          • ytuque

            You should travel and see how the rest of the world lives to fully grasp the depth of Korean social dysfunction. Then, you will understand.

          • B.

            “Isn’t it ironic that Koreans leave their country expecting foreigners to welcome them with open arms while being intolerant of foreigners in their own country?”

            Blaming every korean to be unhappy and intolerant and being a bitter douchebag yourself at the same time. The irony, eh. My only guess is that some korean lad beat you up really bad, otherwise you’re the less indicated to talk about unhappy people.

          • ytuque

            You have crap for reading comprehension. You can’t refute the research so you go for a personal attack The irony is that in this age of globalization, the Hermit Kingdom still exists.

          • B.

            Can’t wait to see what kind of “research” are you referring to. Fucking lol’d at the “OECD country surveys” part, by the way. Autism at its finest.

            As far as I’m concerned, they can go wherever the fuck they want. In the same way your parents let you use the internet to comment weird and bitter shit that just shows how pathetic your life is. And I guess that blaming reading comprehension out of nothing is the new ad hominem, because I fail to see the massive research that you’re talking about. I mean, giving me an excuse about some korean dude from Jeolla that stole your granny’s purse would have more credibility than your average anti-korean crap.

          • ytuque

            So says the frog in the well

          • Toe

            Look man, the more you hang around, the more angry you’re going to get. Just relax, take some time off the internet, spend some time with your wife and children.

          • ytuque

            Yeah, since we know k-boys are so tough with their skinny jeans and man purses.

          • Toe

            See, I don’t care what the rest of the world thinks. I don’t go around commenting on how crap a country is, because I am perfectly happy in the one I am in now.

            Look at you, these comments, so bitter. Pulling up stats on how intolerant or crappy Korea is. Relying on information from the internet. You know who else does that? Antivaxxers.

            Very annoying, ok so you’ve had a bad experience with Koreans, tough shit. Many people learn the language, make Korean friends, and have a wonderful time. You just go around finding dirt, pathetic.

          • ytuque

            Relying on research is bad? You’re a frog in the well.

          • Toe

            You are the well.

    • Iko Jerkin

      It only seems ironic if you don’t think about the reasons why and act like all foreigners are equal. Most Koreans who travel to a foreign country obey the law, work, do well in school and pay more taxes than average. They give back more than they take. The same can’t be said for most immigrants.

      • ytuque

        Koreans immigrants in the US have been successful. Can you name an immigrant group Koreans are welcoming of?

        • Korean

          United States should restrict all Korean immigrants. And this is coming from a Korean. But if the US fails to restrict it then, don’t blame the Koreans for it. Blame your own administration, and don’t blame the vast number of majority of Koreans in Korea who don’t immigrate to the US.

          • ytuque

            You evaded the question.

        • B

          What about these people running charity concerts to help immigrant families, are they also bad Koreans in your books?

          • ytuque

            No, you have to be dull to think the research shows each and every Korean is intolerant of foreigners. But the research is clear that Korean is one of the most xenophobic countries in the world.

    • cantonizi

      Besides China what other country wants black muslims and western rejects that can only talk for a living to live there, may be except for France, Norway, Sweden, Italy and Holland.

      • ytuque

        If you check the statistics, most Korean women in America opt not to marry Korean men. Even your own women don’t want you losers.

    • Warren Lauzon

      Not really true. Several surveys have shown that while the 50+ crowd is pretty xenophobic, the under 30’s group is just the opposite.

  • Joe Louis

    I will, I will, I will. Ive heard this for yeeeeaaaarrrrrsssss. This isn’t news. Don’t believe it until they are working overseas with a place to live. For men, I don’t believe it at all. Its that sense of filial piety and the cronyism they need for social validation, and then that goes into the weird and extreme expectations. Now, I see women have been throwing this yoke off (all over Asia), and in Korea, so many want change, so they are doing their own thing (ie Not marrying and not having kids). That said, I do know one guy who emigrated with his wife and kid to work in Australia., but his family is really different.

    • Ibyangin

      One of my Korean friends just moved to Australia with his wife and daughter. He worked at one of the chaebols but he got health issues after being forced to work for 65 hours a week for several years. He believed that he would die before turning 40 if he continued this way. He packed up his things, he apologised to his parents and his parents in law and took the airplane. I have deep respect for him.. Taking matters in his own hands and escaping this hell hole.

      • Xman2014

        I knew someone like that once. He immigrated with his family and he ended up driving a school bus and his wife who had never bruised her fingers in her life, ended up picking strawberries in the fields. They both had to work like immigrant workers in South Korea to make ends meet. Their jobs were irregular and it hurt their pride a lot. But at least their kid was happier as she didn’t have to go through the Korean school exam hell. For the kids, it may be better, but for people with careers, it means they need to start over from scratch. The family were always struggling to make ends meet though. At least they were able to buy a house with the money that they got after selling their place in Korea. But just having a house wasn’t enough to make ends meet. There just were no steady good paying white collar jobs available. The couple however didn’t regret their decisions, they said they’re sacrificing themselves for the kid’s education and for her health. If 60 hours a week doing office jobs in Korea is bad, it’s even worse having to break your back having to work in menial jobs cleaning toilets and picking strawberries.

        • Small twon

          and their kids will crawl back to Korea-usually as a English teacher with shitty college degree. I guarantee you in 10-20 years Korea will be much better place-just read history book and that couple will regret their decision.

  • 금정산

    I’d hate to live in a culture where you need to work into the night on unpaid overtime until the boss goes home. It would be easy to say that Koreans should just go home on time because they can’t fire you. But if you don’t work the overtime, you won’t be promoted beyond the bottom rungs of the office. Your juniors would be promoted above you and you will be an outcast and a failure. Without the promotion you wouldn’t be able to afford better housing, struggle to get married and won’t be able to provide the same education for your children.

    On top of that is the workplace bullying because you are leaving early and that is perceived as free loading on your coworkers. So when you are at the office, it’s like working in hell while being underpaid for your experience. Working in such a miserable environment doesn’t make you any more efficient and you may begin to wonder if you would have been happier to work the unpaid overtime each day and reluctantly go out drinking three times per week.

    It doesn’t surprise anyone that Koreans want to leave this culture (not country, but specifically culture) for something better. What I don’t understand is why Koreans don’t rise up to the injustice of this culture. I throw this question out to all Korean readers. Why don’t the young working generation protest or pressure government to reform this culture?

    The middle-aged generation protested against military dictatorships and social injustice. Koreans now live in a democracy with the power of mass communication. Why not have a nation-wide day where all employees go home on time? A protest because people are not being paid for working overtime.

  • Hwang Dongseong

    I live in one of those countries. My company support working residence permit. I have to say something. If you are eligible to get residence permit, after living 4 years, you will get permanent residence permit. It’s easier and simpler than getting green card in US.

    rule of thumb of immigrant policy in those country is to allow immigration to only high skilled professionals who local company cannot find alternative in local. Unemployee rate is not low here also. There’s huge competition to get good job.

    As you expected, without fluent native language skill, only engineers and scientists have a chance. otherwise, they have to get lucky.

    There is irony. You need high competency in your professional area to succeed immigration, but Korea is also good country to live with the “high competency”. I get 40% more salary than Korea but government steals half of them. I feel I get same money.

    Housing price is almost same to Seoul. In Seoul, you can eat nice lunch by $6. Here you need to pay more than $13. Living cost is insane here. People uses 10 years old used car.

    I never hear about overtime fee. Company doesn’t give additional pay to full time worker, except for construction or factory.

    You want promotion but you don’t want overtime in Korea. if so, here is not answer. You hardly have promotion chance. E level manager needs perfect language and cultural background. You hardly get this in your lifetime. Promotion in Korea is much easier, or you never overtime in both Korea and here without promotion.

    I get much higher salary than local people, and people is usually nice to me, but I have to say life quality is better in Korea. I feel exteme loniness. Korea food, hospital, living area are freaking great. You feel here you live in 20th century.

    I have ambition to make something different, so I sacrifice my personal relationship and work so long time. It’s why I’m here. To seek life balance by immigration, it’s silly. Immigration is always tough. Korea is best place for Korean to live.

    • Ibyangin

      Just the fact that you mention that the government ‘steals half of your salary’ indicates that Korea is indeed a better place for you to live. Why did you go abroad? You sacrificed your personal relationship, you feel lonely in your host-country, you have a very slim chance of getting promoted, apparently you miss out on overtime pay… why don’t you go home? Go back to your own country?

      Edit: I don’t mean to atagonise you, it’s just that from your reaction there are more cons to emigrating (to N-Europe) instead of pros. Are you implying you are not really succesfull seeking the life balance through emigration? Do you feel too much Korean to be able to live only comfortably in Korea?

  • Just A Thought

    Koreans just don’t know how to appreciate what they have. If they stopped drinking at work so much, and stopped studying so much, instead spent more time with their own families, half the unhappiness would be gone. It’s trying to conform to impossible standards is what causing people to commit suicide. Korea has great infrastructure, technology, low crime, and they earn good wages. Why are so many unhappy? It seems like the more Korea gets wealthier, the more unhappy they get. I heard from one North Korean defector who had recently came from North Korea who proclaimed compared to North Korea, South Korea is a paradise. If they lived in North Korea for couple of days, they would suddenly know how lucky they were born in the South. The hardware is there, it’s the software that runs those hardware that needs to be tweaked.

    • Bruiser Brody

      Yip. Eventually they will realize that they can drop back a gear.
      They don’t seem to understand that they have won the race. One of the benefits of living in a developed country is not having to grind yourself into dust to get by. Talk to any Korean, none of them like the competitive nature of education, society, employment. Society just needs a bit of rejigging. Create some more focus points, instead of everyone wanting the same job, same car, same apartment. Appreciate difference. I’ve noticed it happening little by little with some of the younger generation.

      I also think they could do something about the architectural style they employ on almost every building. The cities are so godamn ugly. On a grey day looking out across a Korean city is like taking a cinder block to the face. Breathtakingly ugly. Your environment can really impact your mood. God help someone having to wake up to the Daegu skyline 365 days a year. I’d jump off my concrete block apartment too.

  • Chucky3176

    Even if they’re able to immigrate, Koreans who actually managed to immigrate, complain about the same things (income, education, jobs, culture).

    “I Do Not Want To Recommend Immigration to Canada”

    Interesting read about why immigration for Koreans is not what’s cracked up to be.
    Same complaints they make in Korea, plus new problems and challenges like: lack of jobs, no opportunity, horrendous tax burden, horrid services that takes weeks, loneliness, technology that reminds you of Korea in 1990’s, and low income that you can hardly live off of, etc etc.

    As someone who’ve lived in Canada, US, S.Korea, and others, I can tell you everywhere has similar problems and unique challenges. There is no perfect utopian “Northern European Country” that some Koreans dream up. What naiveness. All they’re doing is dreaming, and then jumping from one frying pan to another. They’ll go there and they’ll complain about that country again like crazy. South Korea is what you make of it. It’s hell if you worry too much about conforming to that society’s expectations. If you don’t, you can thrive in it, the country still has many opportunities that most Koreans don’t even know they have, compared to about 80% of the world.

    • Chucky3176

      “캐나다 복지 나라란 환상이 우리나라 사람들을 판타지 속에 허우적거리게 만들어 이민이나 유학을 가게 만드는 것 같습니다 .”

      “Fantasy about Canada’s social welfare system is making Koreans all confused inside, they want to either immigrate or go study there.”

      Yeap. I agree, it’s fantasy. One thing is that the old people are not as poor as Korean old people. The reason is not the better welfare. It’s that Canadians don’t have to spend $250,000 on their children’s wedding plans (including giving them houses, cars, etc), and Canadians don’t spend hundreds of thousands on their kids in after school education and studies abroad. They take the money and save, and put them into income savings investment plans called the Registered Retirement Savings Plan, in which government encourages the citizens to invest in, by giving them huge tax breaks. In Canada, if you strictly live on pensions or welfare with no savings, you’re bound to be living in poverty, just like the Koreans who have given all their wealth and assets to their children.

      I hope South Koreans are reading this forum, through translations. Make your country better, don’t day dream, it’s waste of time.

      • Small twon

        ” you’re bound to be living in poverty, just like the Koreans who have given all their wealth and assets to their children.”

        truer words never spoken

    • commander

      Chucky, I think you make too oversimplified a generalization statement.

      Afrer all, Korean emigrants decided to leave this country for some reasons, like hypercompetition in education and career.

      It doesn’, however, mean that those emigrants to western countries are happy with all aspects of emigration. At least they are satisfied that they don’t have to be confronted with what makes them leave Korea, e.g. hypercompetition in education amd career.

      But there are new problems for them like racisl discrimination and a language barrier etc. They complaint is about these new problems, not about emigration itself.

  • Ashley Banks

    They will be disappointed when the move because their fantasy will be blown to bits.

  • Krystal Hampton

    I like this idea. I moved away from my country because of this. I live nicely (for now) and I hope that I can stay for a least two more years before going elsewhere. I now understand why the government wants to reduce English education. It’s not only because of national fears, it’s also because they want to keep young Koreans in the country to keep itself in place. Governments, in any country, hate that people can move about. It puts any sovereign entity in jeopardy of being toppled should over half of their people move to greener pastures. So move young folk. Get your Manifest Destiny on.

  • Small twon

    All I am hearing is “me me me me me … f*** those entitled little shits.
    There are plenty of people who do their job better and I am quite sure 99% of them are crawling back to Korea from their dream janitor job. I met those kind people personally they are usually bitter/self entitled brats.

    I say good riddance and let them leave.

    Korea has made it without people like them and will make it work without them.

  • Jamie

    I just know a girl who moved back to Seoul Busan after 6 years here.

    20-30 Koreans move to Australia often starting with study or a working
    Holiday. Soon they realize that the welfare isn’t that great and the
    immigration law is getting tougher. They work a lot of shit jobs and
    have fun but they soon realize that it isn’t easy. Many guys don’t focus
    on English and so do some girls so they’ll never move up or find things
    easier. The ones who do well in English (especially the gone who date a
    lot of Aussies I found) do okay but find that many Australian’s won’t
    deal with them from either racism or genuine frustration and distrust.
    They end up sticking to themselves or dating a white person to feel more
    Aussie. The latter copes better but might get stigmatized or is even used by their partner. I found they often struggle and end up hating Australia for being

    A lot of families do fine but individuals find it hard.
    A lot of Koreans also come with a sense of superiority that they are
    better than other immigrants namely South Asians and Africans. So when
    they are treated the same they hate it – but that is multiculturalism.
    I’ve taught at college and before as a teacher and Korean parents and
    students really had no clue. They worked hard and pushed themselves but
    they only learnt by rote and even offered bribes (Chinese and Saudis did
    this too). Some end up successful but stuck in a high stress
    environment. 3 years ago a Korean student jumped of a building near our
    school and he did well in the medical entrance exam… That was truly sad and devastating to all the staff.

    Koreans leaving Korea are generally the elites and they either cheapen themselves in desperation (a lot of girls) or end up frustrated, I find only families or those with huge amounts of money do okay here. But they end up being a weird mix of ultra nationalist Koreans living as “Kossies.”

    I’d feel bad but I find those types repugnant and annoying.

  • Jimmy Choi


    Right what do we have here? Koreans emigrating…no it must all be a lie, doubtless spread by the Japanese. I watched a Korean drama on TV once and the place looked like paradise on earth. Why would anyone want to leave? We have KPOP and SAMSUNG and erm, well err oh there’s….never mind!

    In the unlikely event that this report is true I must say that emigration is good for people like me with rich fathers so I can have fluent English and avoid military service because I have the important duty of defending Korea on the internet. But for the ordinary, little people I must say know your place! You must stay in Korea forever and work hard so I can brag on the internet about our wonderfully advanced economy (even though I had nothing to do with that) and scream tearful denials at the computer screen whenever there is criticism of our perfect society. I may even visit Korea someday.

    • KoreaBang Mod

      Please refrain from making anymore further trolling comments that are completely out of topic, using sock puppets, and putting up posts using multiple ID’s pretending to be different people. If you keep doing this, your IP address will be blacklisted, and you will be permanently banned. You have been warned.

      • NintendoD.Boss

        Thank you. The troll was getting out of hand.

      • Racist bozos are brainless

        “KoreaBang Mod” isn’t a real KoreaBang moderator. A real moderator has special insignia beside his/her name. Also, this is the first comment this user has posted. Still, what the fake mod mentioned is true ….

  • DisqusTruth

    10 Millions Koreans move abroad.

  • commander

    Although there has been a stream of Korean emigrants, the recent developments are fresh in two aspects.

    First, highly educated Koreans are joining the wave of emigrants overseas. This is a disturbing reminder of how tough and ferocious life in Korea is.

    Second, countries for emigration are expanding. Previously, the major destinations are the United States, Australia and Canada. But now the new wave of emigrants eye northern European countries for emigration.

    This means would-be emigrants find hustle and bustle in Korea and hyper-competitive life to be distressing. They pursue a life of spiritual peace with plenty of quality time with families.

    • Chucky3176

      Commander, it’s always been the case highly educated Koreans were waves of emigrants since the 1970’s. This is not something new at all.
      And going from 230 emigrants to 500 in three years into “Northern Europe”, does not make a “wave”. And who says those countries want those emigrants?

      If Koreans think social welfare is bad, then maybe South Korea should drastically raise the taxes and increase the social welfare using the tax money. According to this article yesterday, South Korea’s wages are only 14th highest in the OECD BEFORE the taxes, but it climbs all the way to 6th highest, higher than US, Japan, most of Western Europe, and only slightly less than the shangri La lands of Northern Europe. This is a testimonial to how little South Koreans pay in taxes – on the average of only 5% of their wages deducted off their purchasing power – dead last in the OECD. If you contribute so little to the national coffers, how can you expect to get so much back?

      • commander

        Chucky, first of all, it is great to have a sound debate on emigration in Korea with you.

        For starters, in the 1970s and 1980s when South Korea was under the rule of military dictatorship, and was struggling to emerge from poverty, the major portion of emigrating workers was composed of nurses, miners and laborers.

        This provides the cinematic background for a massive hit Ode to My Father.

        Secondly, I think the increase in emigrants to Northern European countries from 230 to 500 can be seen a noticeable change, if not a wave as you pointed out, because those countries in Northern Europe has rarely a Korean community as far as I know, which means emigrating Koreans should be trailblazers there.

        Thirdly, OECD “average” wage statistics you cited to argue that Korean workers are gainfully employed overlook the fact that the statistical number is about an average.

        Average is alway controversial especially when we compare economic state of affairs in mulitple countries.

        Because if there is ten people in a country and nine have 10 in monthly income while the other one has an income of 100,000 a month, the average income for this country turns out to 10,009.

        On the other hand, if a country has ten people whose income is all the same 1,000, this country’s average is 1,000.

        In a statistical world, the first country is assessed as better off than the second country because the former has an average of 10,009 against 1,000 on average of the latter.

        My point is: Given that South Korea has the worst income inequality among the OECD member nations and has the lowest welfare spending and the lowest tax rate, especailly corporate one, many working class Koreans still suffer in Great Recession era.

        In my view, that’s why some of highly educated Koreans took a hard journey to some Northern European countries for resettlement.

        • Chucky3176

          Commander, the majority of Korean immigrants in the 1970’s and 1980’s were not miners and nurses. You are citing guest workers to Germany who had a contract with South Korean government at that time. Majority of the guest workers to Germany, returned home after their working contracts were up. There were also Korean workers who left home to Middle East, to work for Korean construction companies. They too returned home. Most of them were not really emigrants. However the vast majority of Korean emigration happened during the height of Korean emigration to North America in the 1970’s and 1980’s, when up to 35,000 Koreans were permanently emigrating every year. The vast majority of them were already highly educated, however, economically poor compared to Western standards. Most of them had to scratch their way to the top, from the very bottom. We still see that legacy today, where Korean American immigrants still own small businesses in poor black neighborhoods.

          Your flawed statistical example on averages is meaningless when it’s applied to 48 million people (minus 2 million foreign passport holders).

          And South Korea doesn’t have the “worst income inequality among OECD”, South Korea’s one of the better off countries in terms of income distribution. Patently false as these figures state:

          What you really meant to say is that South Korea has the worst elderly poverty rate in the OECD. But that doesn’t effect the emigration because most of the emigrants are the young. That is why in my view, those people who want to emigrate are those who don’t want to spend 12 hour 6 day work weeks in the offices, and want a different life style with more personal freedom and choice, and they’re just using lack of welfare as an excuse. South Korea can also have better welfare, but it needs to drastically raise taxes to pay for them. But Koreans are not willing to pay their share of the taxes. Just look at how big the underground economy is in this country, with all that cheating on taxes by using cash. Yeah, whine that you’re not getting anything free, yet how many Koreans are paying their fair share? Hell, South Korea is worse than Greece, when it comes to tax cheaters.

  • WannabeXenophile

    Understandable and it seems to be a reasoned choice to go to Scandinavia as a skilled migrant, despite the high living costs. The language barrier is another issue but as these sort of immigrants seem to be no stranger to hard work, I don’t see why the can’t become fluent in a couple of years.
    That said, I wonder how Scandinavian countries view this, though? There’s Koreans that are outspoken about their dislike for waygooks, so what about vice versa? Interesting thought.

    • Xman2014

      I think the whole thing is overblown by the Korean media who’s looking for click baits. 500 Koreans in Scandanavia does not make it a wave after waves of emigrants fleeing the country. Lot of people are brave when they are fantasizing about the green grass on the other side, but when it comes to really putting in their actions, it’s another story. Yeah, I would also like to emigrate to Maui, lay on the beach, and drink cock tails for life too. But that doesn’t mean that I will pack up my bag and get on the airplane. There is reality called life.

    • cantonizi

      Koreans can never make it in Scandinavian countries, the muslims have taken over these countries and more from Africa will be arriving soon in a few months, so don’t think so hard just go for it or it will be too late.
      Too bad they are there now.

  • Z Kim


  • Miniluv101

    Ahahaha, oh man, I can’t believe liberals are still pushing for privatizing and butchering our welfare to “keep Sweden competitive”, when we’re experiencing brain gain from just this social democratic policy.

  • nineteen85

    Funny. So despite being rather determined and quite frankly ingenious(taking up welding to be a skilled migrant). These Koreans rather trade the hard life, but absolute safety for a comparably hard life(high taxes means both parents likely have to work even if one is something like a doctor/lawyer) and certain countries like Sweden having the dubious honour of being the rape capital of Europe?

    And to top it all off, Koreans being xenophobic, expect these countries to be less so? When Scandinavia actually allows Nazi parties to function and be somewhat popular at certain times?

  • Borah De

    Working conditions here are terrible. I have been trying to find a job that will let me have time off to study Korean and have vacation days at the same time as my husband. One potential employer told me to take my vacation alone, i don’t need my husband to enjoy my holiday. I could not believe this.

  • Guy Forget

    Everyone is wrong. If people wanted to leave Korea because it’s too competitive, too much stress, or “whatever” is messed up, then why is South Korea one of the highest “intake migration” countries in the world? It’s odd that so many “stuck up” Koreans who have become superficial and shallow thanks to the hyper-materialism, self-centered, hedonistic culture that is now Korea, claim they want to move abroad for a better life, and yet 300,000 people a year from poorer countries from SE Asia, Africa, South Asia, and even from N. America and Europe are moving to Korea. They all want to come to Korea because of the “Korean Dream”, a better life and future for themselves, and their children. I don’t see any of them complaining and whining about Korea. They’d be very happy if Koreans want to leave their own country, vacate all the jobs, and let these poorer migrants come in and take over, because they will. It’s all a matter of who is willing to work hard, make sacrifices, have the right set of values to live for and not over indulge and have high unrealistic expectations of a life of comfort and excess. That’s why Koreans are stuck up. They don’t know how good they got it and they think going to UK or USA or somewhere else in Europe is a better dream. The grass is not that much greener if it all. Some things may be an improvement, but other things will not. Overall, it will balance itself out and just staying in Korea, working hard like the generations of old did, would be a better option. The poor migrants who come to Korea and want to live there are easy to please. They don’t have high expectations. That’s why they can thrive in tiny one rooms, ride mo peds, and work hard jobs in factories, and consider this to be a “dream life”.

    • Xman2014

      Agreed. Those same Koreans who emigrated to the US, ended up working as nail salon workers, working with toxic materials harming their healths, and fighting over a small pie with Latinos and Blacks. Why would you want to give up your life and move to a ghetto and work the same 3D jobs that you shun like the plague in Korea? When I see news like this, all I can do is shake my heads. Koreans need to abandon the habit of automatically thinking that West is always the best. The social welfare payments in the West is no panacea either. There’s no place in the world that you get something for nothing.

    • Ibyangin

      Eh… what a BS! Sorry, can’t resist not reacting to utter ignorance.

      Yes, Korea might be very popular among countries that are clearly economically less developed. Yes, some LBH westerner (from the ‘first’ world) might move to Korea for opportunities but it’s because of the white privilege they can enjoy in Korea, because Koreans are very much conditioned to respond favorably to white westerners. But don’t kid yourself or spread your BS about Korea or a so called ‘Korean dream’.

      Perhaps people from a situation more dire are desperate to move to Korea for work and possibly thinking of having a better future… but given the opportunity, they would not hestitate to move to Australia, Canada or Europe. Korea is becoming a more and more xenophobic country, economically modern? Perhaps. Socially backward? Yes, absolutely… by some 30 years at least. Korea is very much like the anus of the OECD countries. You do not want to touch it unless you have to and you cannot live without one.

      I can fully understand why Koreans want to move to a country where there is more individual and political freedom. Perhaps for people willing to emigrate have certain expectations of possibilities abroad that are sometimes a little bit off are need some reality check. But living in Korea is not as good as you think it is.

      Those poor migrants coming to Korea they work hard, live simple but send all their money back home. I don’t think they are willing to endure living in a hostile xenophobic environment just because they want to live a ‘dream life’. Koreans might be very used to shortcuts making yourself more attractive and desirable as a person, but as a society, there is no shortcut to achieve that kind of result without going through some long and painful reflection and social reformation.

  • Lily

    just to side track abit. in the news this week, a korean female, 27 years old, has died while working as a hostess in singapore , from alcohol toxicity. i am saying, if you are not in home ground, seldom you will have people take good care of you.

    • nineteen85

      I honestly don’t think that’s a fair statement to make. Any of it.

      The woman in question died because she allowed herself to die. A customer apparently told her that he/she would pay her $50 for every glass consumed. She consumed 18 glasses, netting her a $900 tip.

      It doesn’t matter where this woman was, be it Korea, Singapore, China or even the US. If she lacked the common sense to know that downing 18 glasses of liquor at a time is a bad idea, she probably would have died at home if her boyfriend had promised her a car. Even 18 shots of soju, all at once, one after the other is a guaranteed trip to the toilet, be it immediately or the next day with diarrohea, let alone, 18 glasses of whiskey or vodka.

      It’s a tragedy for sure. But she could also have stopped at 6, and gotten $300. Greed and ignorance won the day.

  • Warren Lauzon

    The article is somewhat misleading. By far the top two countries for emigration are Canada and the US. And quite often the reasons for wanting to leave are not just job prospects, but to get away from the Chaebols and Confucian system. This is especially true among women, who see little chance of any real career in Korea regardless of their skills.

  • Katie

    Moving abroad is something great – they’ll gain more confidence living on their own and be able to cope with the problems they stumble upon!
    visit website

  • meyagi

    trust me daum is full of unaducated losers.

  • If the main problem is the competition and the need of being sucessful to fit in a society, I think that life doesn’t consist on that, even if the society promote competition you not necessary have to compete too, what is sucess? is sucess being a wealthy manager? and if you don’t reach that position you can’t be happy? I admit money is necessary in life, but we shouldn’t forget of other things. If you feel pressed and feel that you ahve to do many things to get a job in a good position, try to get other different sources of income, like trading, stock, give private classes, etc.

  • Joyce Yagoda

    I have a friend that moved from the USA to New Zeland! I would love to do the same. She married a New Zelander. I work with someone from Israel and she lived in New Zeland for 2 years and also loved it. I would like to go there and see what it is like!

  • Joyce Yagoda

    Anyone in finance should move to Wall Street and learn all you can then
    Move on.

  • Koreans

    Korean self made problems.

Personals @ chinaSMACK - Meet people, make friends, find lovers? Don't be so serious!»