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Social Integration and Heath Policy Issues for International Marriage Migrant Women in South Korea


Hyun-Sil Kim, Department of Nursing, Daegu Haany University, #165 Sang-Dong, Susung-Gu, Daegu 706-060, South Korea. E-mail:


ABSTRACT Until very recently, Korea was largely considered to be a homogenous, racially intolerant country that had little or no experience with large-scale immigration. However, this paradigm is in the process of changing. For the first time in the country's history, large numbers of foreigners are immigrating to work and live in Korea, and many are seeking to become Koreans. In particular, international marriage migrations, especially those of women entering the country through marriages to Korean men, have become common in South Korea. This has given rise to serious challenges within the country. Although conventional ideologies portray Korea as a country of a single race, culture, and language, the growing number of immigrants has disrupted this homogenous monoculture. Indeed, there are signs that Korea has reached a turning point, with an increasingly permanent and visible migrant population challenging the country's national identity. This article explores the statistics and trends related to international marriage migrant women in South Korea, particularly in terms of their social insecurities and health-related problems. In addition, some aspects of Korean governmental policies for the social integration and health promotion of these women are examined, and some suggestions are made for ways in which public health nursing and nursing education may be changed in response to the current trends.