OMNES : The Journal of multicultural society

Current Issue

OMNES: The Journal of Multicultural Society - Vol. 9 , No. 1

[ Article ]
OMNES: The Journal of Multicultural Society - Vol. 8, No. 3, pp.68-96
ISSN: 2093-5498 (Print)
Print publication date 31 Jul 2018
Received 24 May 2018 Revised 03 Jul 2018 Accepted 10 Jul 2018

The Migration Regime of South Korea: Three Axes of Civic Stratification
Gyuchan Kim
Changshin University, South Korea


The existing migration regime research tends to describe the cases of new migration destination countries simply as emerging or to treat admission, settlement and integration policies in a separate manner. This article aims to help address such limitations by supplying a comprehensive examination of the migration regime of South Korea. The article investigates the three sets of migration policies of Korea, putting each in the two divided policy categories of admission and residency and settlement and integration. In doing so, the paper reveals the way in which residency, economic (labor), and social rights of migrants are differentiated by these policies. To capture the mixed arrangements of controls and rights, the paper utilizes the concept of civic stratification which refers to a policy device to manage migrants’ access to rights (Morris, 2001). It was found that the Korean government has designated ethnicity and marital relation as well as skill-level the most critical criteria in allocating the rights for admission, residency, labor participation, social benefits, and settlement/integration of migrants. Consequently, co-ethnic and (female) marriage migrants are subject to the higher level of economic and social rights and settlement/integrations chances compared to other types of migrants.

Keywords: migration regime, civic stratification, co-ethnic migration, marriage migration, South Korea

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Biographical Note

Gyuchan Kim was awarded a Ph.D. in social policy on a subject of international migration and social care in 2016 from the Department of Sociological Studies, the University of Sheffield. He is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Welfare, Changshin University. His research interests include social care, migration and welfare states, and care-migration nexus especially in the East Asian context. Email: (