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S Korea to extend support application period to help settlement of defectors

All Headlines 14:22 July 02, 2018

SEOUL, July 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will extend the period that North Korean defectors are eligible to apply for state support as part of efforts to provide more help for their settlement in South Korean society, the unification ministry said Monday.

Under the current law, defectors are eligible for various forms of state support linked to their settlement process here if they apply for benefits from the government within one year of arrival in the South. A relevant law will be revised to extend the period to three years, according to the ministry.

Data showed that there have been 236 North Korean defectors who failed to qualify for state support from 2007-2017, of which 186 cases were due to missing the one-year deadline.

Others include those who have stayed in countries other than South Korea for over 10 years after defecting from the North or committed crimes.

The move came as the government is pushing to expand support for North Korean defectors to better help them integrate into South Korean society. As of January this year, the number of North Korean defectors living here reached 31,340, according to the ministry.

The ministry said that it is also seeking to provide support for North Korean defectors related to residence even if they fail to meet the one-year deadline to be eligible for state support.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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