Geum Yi

[WSJ] More Immigration Needed to Bolster Korean Workforce, Study Says

December 16, 2014





South Korea might need as many as 15 million immigrants—equivalent to a third of its current population–by 2060 to make up for a shrinking workforce and sustain growth, according to a Seoul-based private think tank.

The report, released Monday by the Korea Economic Research Institute, describes a demographic profile quite different from present-day South Korea, which is a highly homogeneous society where immigrants constitute just 3% of the nation’s 50 million people.

South Korea’s population is currently growing but is widely expected to begin decreasing in coming years because of a low birth rate, which–together with its rapidly aging population—could reduce the nation’s workforce and undermine its growth potential.

The KERI report says the country needs 605,000 immigrants in 2020, 4.3 million in 2030, 11.8 million in 2050 and 15.3 million in 2060 to prevent the labor force from shrinking.