The 'special' Afghans finding new life in S.Korea

The massive numbers of evacuees who fled Afghanistan are forcing discussions and debates in many countries over how to settle them into their new homes and new cultures.

And South Korea is an interesting case. Immigration is a very contentious issue here, where many people pride themselves on the fact that the country is overwhelmingly made up of a single ethnic group. It is effectively homogenous.

Now, the country is amending its laws for those evacuees who gave special services to South Korea.

Enter two men: one, a doctor from Afghanistan who came here with his family. The other, a translator. Both are staying anonymous for their safety and are in COVID quarantine. We'll start with the translator:

TRANSLATOR: "We don't think of Afghanistan too much, we think our future here and our life."

TRANSLATOR: "They don't call us refugees, they call us a special contributor and we are so proud of that name. We are so happy with that name."

TRANSLATOR: "We came here and we want to live for a long time in peace. Our children should have a good education here and a peaceful situation."

DOCTOR: "I would like to continue my profession. I would like to work as a medical doctor here. (...) find opportunities for work and of course if getting (a) certificate is needed, I'll try to get the Korean certificate."

Only 55 people were given refugee status in South Korea last year of over 6,600 who applied. Most people granted asylum are defectors from North Korea. But a recent poll suggests that 70% of the country support the plan to give these Afghans – 390 in total – special status.

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