Survey: Only 50% of Koreans favourable towards migrant workers

This photo taken on April 30, 2005 shows foreign participants practicing tea making with Korean traditional tea tools during a temple stay at Geumsansa temple in Gimje, South Korea.

More than half of Koreans have a negative attitude towards foreign workers residing here, a recent survey showed.

In a survey by local pollster Gallup Korea, 54 per cent of respondents said that the migration of foreign workers to Korea is "not a good thing." The study was conducted on 1,500 Koreans aged 19 and above.

Thirty-nine per cent said that it is a "good thing," which is significantly lower than the 57 per cent average across the 69 countries that participated in this global survey. The remaining 7 per cent could not decide on the matter.

The survey, carried out from October to November last year, had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

South Koreans' perception of migrant workers appears to have turned sour compared to 20 years ago, the pollster said. In a similar survey conducted in 1994, 50 per cent of respondents were favourable towards foreign workers.

According to Statistics Korea, the foreign population working in Korea stood at 938,000 as of last May, with the number having increased every year since 2010.

Among the 69 countries surveyed, China was the most positive about the issue with 81 per cent answering in favour of migrant workers. Thailand was the most negative, with 78 per cent in disapproval.