A Comparative Analysis of Foreign Workers and Citizenship in Korea and Germany

  • Jong-Hee LeeEmail author
Part of the Transcultural Research – Heidelberg Studies on Asia and Europe in a Global Context book series (TRANSCULT, volume 5)


The number of foreign workers has increased in both Korea and Germany as part of globalization, and there has been a liberalization of the concept of citizenship. Korea and Germany have maintained the tradition of nation-states based upon ethnic and racial homogeneity. With respect to citizenship, these two countries are comparable and have cross-case validity in that both of them have accepted immigrant workers on short-term contracts. Both countries actively provide incentives to attract foreign professionals, while the “return home” policy towards unskilled workers is closer to exploitation. Korea gives priority to the employment of Koreans, and Germany does so to citizens of the European Union. In this respect they are similar, with each country importing a minimum number of foreign workers based on the principle of complementarity in the labor market. There are also several important differences between the two countries. This paper seeks to analyze migrant worker policy and institutions and the characteristics of foreign workers’ civic status in Korea and Germany.  Chapters 2 and  3 analyze the history and current status of foreign workers in Korea and Germany, respectively.  Chapter 4 conducts a comparative analysis of foreign workers and citizenship in Korea and Germany.  Chapter 5 draws lessons from the example of Germany that may benefit Korean immigration policy.


Unemployment Rate Unskilled Worker Foreign Worker Immigrant Worker German Government 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Election Broadcasting Debate CommissionSeoulKorea
  2. 2.SeoulKorea

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