Korea's population peaked at 51.8 million in 2020 and began to decline. The population aged 25-59 years old, the main age group for work and consumption, has been on the decline since 2018 (about 27.9 million people), and is expected to decrease by 3.4 million people by 2031. This is about 12.2% of the population shrinkage. The problem is that this trend is non-reversable. Rapidly declining the size of working aged population causes many people to concern because the population growth coincided with economic growth in Korea. An alternative to this phenomenon, recently considered by the public, is foreign workers. In demography, replacing the reduced labor force with foreign workers is called ‘replacement migration’. Can ‘replacement migration’ be a solution to the decrease in the labor force? How and what should the government prepare to receive replacement migrants? Also, can we receive replacement migrants whenever we want?
The agenda to be discussed in this session is:
- First, we will examine the academic debates related to replacement migration, a concept that is still unfamiliar to many, and introduce recent trends on replacement migration in the United States and Europe, which are well-known destinations for international migration.
- Second, we introduce Japan's experience of replacement migration, and examine the policy-wise, academic, and social evaluations so far.
- Third, the mutual relationship between sending and receiving countries is important for replacement migration. We will examine what factors the Philippines, as a typical sending country, considers when selecting the counterpart country.
This session intends to delve into the possibility of replacement migration strategy in the context of Korea's present and future as a response to the decrease in the working-age population.