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Justice Minister returns from study trip on European immigration policies

Foreigners are seen walking in Incheon Airport on Sunday. (Yonhap)
Foreigners are seen walking in Incheon Airport on Sunday. (Yonhap)

Minister of Justice Han Dong-hoon returned to South Korea on Wednesday from his weeklong trip to France, the Netherlands and Germany to learn about their immigration policies aimed at multicultural integration.

The justice ministry, which oversees immigration-related policies and tasks in Korea, will put great effort into preparing new immigration policies based on the discussions the minister had with representatives of these European immigration authorities.

Han told his counterparts, "No immigration policy in the world is immaculate, but, on the other hand, no countries will be able to prosper without a socially acceptable immigration policy."

The justice ministry will closely liaise with its French, Dutch and German counterparts to exchange immigration policy and immigration-related information, he added.

This came against the backdrop of Korea's recent moves to set up a separate government body controlled by the ministry dedicated to overseeing immigration. The justice minister runs the Korea Immigration Office, which handles the administrative affairs of over 2 million residents of foreign nationality living in the country.

Han and his French counterpart, Minister for the Interior and Overseas Gerald Darmanin, in Paris, vowed to join forces to deal with issues related to increasing international migration. France has some 7 million immigrants, accounting for 10 percent of the total population.

One in four people are of first- or of second-generation immigrant backgrounds in the Netherlands, where Han met Dutch Minister of Justice and Security Dilan Yesilgoz-Zegerius and State Secretary for Justice and Security Eric van der Burg on Thursday.

In Germany he met with Rita Schwarzeluhr-Sutter, parliamentary state secretary to the Federal Minister of the Interior and Community, and Hans-Eckhard Sommer, president of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. Some 27.5 percent of the German population have an immigrant background.

All three countries run separate government bodies dedicated to immigration-related affairs, according to the justice ministry.

By Son Ji-hyoung (