OMNES : The Journal of multicultural society
[ Article ]
OMNES: The Journal of Multicultural Society - Vol. 7, No. 2, pp.128-153
ISSN: 2093-5498 (Print)
Print publication date Jan 2017
Received 24 Nov 2016 Revised 03 Dec 2016 Accepted 09 Jan 2017

A Transnational Approach to the Integration of Migrant Workers: With Focus on the Korea’s Employment Permit System

Julia Jiwon Shin
Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology at Chonnam National University


Having received temporary migrant workers for over two decades since the early 1990s, Korea has become one of the top destination countries in Asia hosting a large number of migrant workers. This trend has led the country to a crucial juncture at which it faces emerging political, social, economic, and cultural challenges. Despite the diversity of the migrant population in Korea, the current policy concerning the integration of migrants primarily focuses on marriage migrants and their families who are assumed as permanent residents in the country. Considering the substantial number of migrant workers among the overall migrant population, it is necessary to deliberate the ways in which integration policy could embrace temporary migrant workers. This study aims to seek an alternative paradigm and policy measures to enhance the integration of temporary migrant workers with focus on Korea’s Employment Permit System. Integration policy for migrant workers should be initiated to work more effectively to enhance the skills and experiences of the workers and thereby contribute to the reintegration of migrants when they return and improve their ability to assist in the sustainable development of their home countries. The study explores the possibility of integrating temporary migrant workers through training programs at various stages of the migration cycle and transnational cooperation between various actors in countries of origin and destination.


labor migration, integration, migrant workers, Employment Permit System (EPS), South Korea


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Biographical Note

Julia Jiwon Shin holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Warwick, U.K. She is Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology at Chonnam National University, South Korea. Her main research interests are in interdisciplinary and gender sensitive approaches to the study of international migration. Her research and teaching interests also cover the following areas: labour migration; migration and development; gender and ethnicity; racism; and feminist research methodology. Email: