UPDATE 4 (2011-10-9): According to Yonhap, only 20 North Korean defectors are working as public servants in South Korea:
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 other South Koreans.
UPDATE 3 (2011-9-23): Yonhap reports that DPRK student defectors increase 3.5-fold since 2006:
A total of 1,681 elementary, middle and high school students fleeing from the communist country reside here in 2011, up 235.9 percent from 475 in 2006, according to the report by the education ministry and submitted to parliament for a regular audit.
Elementary school students accounted for 60.7 percent of the defector students below college level, followed by high school students with 22.2 percent and middle school students with 17.1 percent, the report showed.
The total number of North Koreans defecting to the South surpassed the 20,000 mark in November last year for the first time, almost double from around 10,200 in 2006, according to the Unification Ministry data.
Meanwhile, the dropout rate of North Korean defectors in schools here has gradually decreased over the past few years, from 10.8 percent in 2007 to 6.1 percent in 2008 to 4.7 percent in 2010, according to the report, a sign that efforts to help support young North Korean defectors paid off.
Reasons for their withdrawal from the regular schooling include adjustment failure, responsibilities for housework and taking a school qualification exam instead of completing high school for entering college, the report showed.
UPDATE 2 (2011-9-19): Yonhap reports that 378 N. Korean defectors under protection of S. Korea’s overseas missions. According to the report:
“As of the end of July, a total of 378 North Korean defectors are under the protection of overseas missions and the ministry is working with relevant nations and international organizations to swiftly transfer them to South Korea,” the ministry said in a report to the National Assembly.
The number of defectors arriving in South Korea via its diplomatic missions totaled 2,423 last year, 2,927 in 2009, 2,089 in 2008, 2,544 in 2007 and 2,018 in 2006, according to the report.
From January to August this year, 1,797 defectors arrived in the South via the diplomatic missions, it said.
UPDATE 1 (2011-7-4): According to Yonhap:
The number of North Korean defectors to South Korea has exceeded 1,400 [1,428] in the first six months of the year, up 14 percent compared to the same period last year, a government official here said Monday.
The Choson Ilbo also reports on the emigration numbers:
The Unification Ministry on Monday said 52 percent of the 1,428 North Koreans who came to South Korea in the first half of this year took a year or less to complete the journey, significantly more than the 30 percent in 2009 and 39 percent in 2010.
After a sudden 19-percent drop last year, the number of North Koreans who come to the South is growing again. It steadily increased until 2009 to hit 2,927. But amid growing unrest, the regime cracked down on defectors and it seems asked China to help. But the Chinese crackdowns simply hastened defectors’ move to South Korea, so the figure skyrocketed again this year and is likely to exceed 3,000 by the end of this year, according to the ministry official.
Meanwhile, 47 percent of the new arrivals in the first half of this year had family members already living in the South, up from 36.4 percent from last year. Those who were accompanied by their families also took up a bigger share with 49 percent, up 10 percent from last year. The official said the reason is that many whole families are escaping as they see no hope in the isolated country and plan to go to South Korea from the start. “It’s not just because of economic hardship,” he added.
There are a total of 21,788 North Korean defectors in the South, of whom 75 percent are between the age of 20 and 49, and 72 percent women.
ORIGINAL POST (2011-6-13): According to KBS:
The number of North Korean defectors who entered South Korea this year numbered around eleven-hundred at the end of May.
This is up 14 percent from the same time last year.
A Unification Ministry official on Monday told reporters that the rise is considered unusual given the North has tightened border security.
Read the full story here:
Seoul says flow of N. Korean defectors likely to continue
No. of NK Defectors who Enter S.Korea Rises 14%