North Korean defectors are currently required to tell authorities within a year after their arrival if they want to settle down in the country in order to receive full support.
The number of defectors has been steadily declining since 2012, soon after Kim came to power following his father's death, the Yonhap news agency reported last month.
According to the spokesman for the ruling South Korean Democratic Party who has cited data of the country's Unification Ministry, while over 2,700 North Korean citizens have fled the country in 2011, just over 1,500 people reached South Korea from the north in 2012. In 2017, the number stood at 1,127, and only 703 people have defected from North Korea in 2018 as of August.
The Yonhap news agency suggested that North Koreans might be discouraged from defecting from their country because of stricter border control on the North Korean-Chinese border and rising costs of hiring brokers.
Many North Koreans have been reportedly using China as a transit point on their way to South Korea.