Factors Associated with Employment Hope among North Korean Defectors in South Korea

Yun Kyung Kim, Jin Yong Jun, In Han Song, Philip Young P. Hong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study is to examine various factors associated with employment hope among 702 North Korean defectors who newly entered the Settlement Support Center in South Korea. These defectors typical cross the border into China whose government does not grant them refugee status, considering them irregular economic migrants. Employment hope is a significant issue of concern as it has consistently been found to contribute to economic success for low-income jobseekers in both South Korea and the United States. Four factors of the Employment Hope Scale (EHS) – psychological empowerment, futuristic self-motivation, utilisation of skills and resources, and goal orientation – were used as dimensions of employment hope. Using a multivariate regression analysis, the results indicate that age, education, repatriation and time spent as irregular migrant significantly contributed to employment hope. We conclude that personal and escape-related factors be considered contextually and deliberately in job training programs for newly arriving North Korean defectors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-196
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Migration
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Oct

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Korea Foundation [2016‐RF‐021; 2019‐RF‐020].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. International Migration © 2021 IOM

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography


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