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Chief of U.N. migration agency IOM says social integration of immigrants important

A United Nations migration agency has advised South Korea to find more ways to integrate immigrants into society as it will need more immigrants due to the country's declining birth rate and aging population. Amy Pope, director general of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), gave the advice in an interview with Yonhap News Agency conducted in time for her visit to Seoul this week, saying immigrants should be treated the same as local citizens in terms of wages and other benefits. Established in 1951, the IOM is the leading intergovernmental organization in the field of migration and is committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society. Pope, the IOM's first female director general, began her five-year term last October. She was visiting South Korea on Wednesday and Thursday following a trip to Japan. She met with South Korean government officials to discuss ways to cooperate in the social integration of immigrants and migration policy. Pope stressed in the interview that migration is an essential element in achieving a country's economic, innovation and development goals. Pope said she is well aware of South Korea's exemplary cases, such as supporting and encouraging migrant workers to learn Korean, and local communities should help immigrants understand and learn about Korean culture. It is also important to educate migrant workers who ask for help when human rights violations occur and lead workplaces to create protection standards for immigrants, she said, adding the IOM's aim is to ensure that migration is helpful to the entire country. She then introduced the IOM Strategic Plan 2024-2028, saying the global five-year plan is designed to meet climate change and other challenges so migration can be a full and powerful force for development, prosperity and progress. Before joining the IOM, Pope served as the senior adviser on migration to U.S. President Joe Biden and served as the deputy homeland security adviser to former President Barack Obama. W hile at the White House, Pope developed and implemented comprehensive strategies to address migration in areas such as countering trafficking in persons, resettling refugees and vulnerable people, and preparing communities to respond and adapt to climate-related crises. Source: Yonhap News Agency