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13 - The Rights of Noncitizenship

Migrant Rights and Hierarchies in South Korea

from Part IV - Shaping Rights for New Citizens and Noncitizens

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 April 2021

Celeste L. Arrington
George Washington University, Washington DC
Patricia Goedde
Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul
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This chapter examines how the growth of multiple visa categories created to accommodate labor shortages within South Korea’s restrictive immigration regime has led to the development of noncitizen rights hierarchies. I focus on three visa categories that represent the largest migrant groups in Korea: migrant workers, co-ethnic migrants, and so-called marriage migrants. Migrant claims to rights overlap with those made by citizens in their fundamental conceptions of human dignity and their appeals for state protections. But the scope of their claims has tended to be specific to their migrant subcategories or visa statuses: labor protections for migrant workers, equality among co-ethnic migrants, and state protections for marriage migrants. Even within the single national context of Korea, the struggle for rights by one migrant group does not necessarily make their claimed rights universal, or even accessible, to others.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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