South Korea on Monday opened a call centre to help refugees from communist North Korea to settle in the capitalist South.
The unification ministry that handles cross-border affairs opened the 24-hour centre, said ministry spokesman Chun Hae-Sung.
Eight counsellors will handle queries on job searches, the law, medical services, housing, education and other issues, he said.
About 21,000 North Koreans have settled in the South since the 1950-53 war, most of them during the past decade after a deadly famine in the 1990s.
But with most of their knowledge and skills deemed outdated or irrelevant in the South, many complain of difficulties finding decent jobs and making friends. Some allege discrimination in the workplace.
The jobless rate for refugees last August was 8.8 percent compared with 3.3 percent nationally at the time. Half of them earned less than 1 million won ($924) a month last year, less than one third of the national average.
Seoul in January set job quotas for refugees at state agencies to help tackle unemployment woes.© ANP/AFP