중앙데일리

Rules eased for some ethnic Koreans

Mar 06,2007
The Justice Ministry said yesterday it will allow some ethnic Koreans from China, Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States who have overstayed their visas to legally extend their visit here.
The announcement comes one day after the ministry introduced new visa rules aimed at expanding employment opportunities for ethnic Koreans, the offspring of Koreans forced to move to these regions during the period of Japanese colonial rule from 1910 to 1945.
Effective Monday, the new rules allow ethnic Koreans from the three regions to work in South Korea for up to five years with a new multiple-entry H-2 visa.
Those who are already working in the country with E-9 visas can apply for an extension and switch their visas to H-2. The authorities originally excluded from the new rules illegal entrants or those who have overstayed their visas.
“We decided to allow illegal immigrants with F-1-4 or E-9 visas to change their visas to H-2 if they have overstayed for less than a year and appear before the authorities voluntarily,” said Kang Myeong-deuk, director general of the Korea Immigration Bureau. “They have to pay a fine for their illegal stay to get a new visa.”
However, ethnic Koreans who have overstayed for more than one year could be ordered to leave.
The new visa rules are designed to help expand visa and job opportunities for ethnic Koreans from countries that have been relatively neglected compared to countries like the United States or Japan, and to ease labor shortages in low-wage jobs in small and medium-sized firms in South Korea.
Ethnic Koreans from China, Russia and the CIS have so far been allowed to enter the country only if their name is in a domestic family registry or they are invited by relatives living in the country.
Mr. Kang said the expansion was aimed to help ethnic Koreans “who became illegal immigrants because of the complex procedures for getting a job under the previous visa rules.”
The new rules are expected to affect 4,544 ethnic Koreans as of December last year, according to a ministry tally.


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