[EDITORIALS]Clean up the visa mess

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[EDITORIALS]Clean up the visa mess

The Prosecutors Office has found that a considerable number of ethnic Koreans in China acquired visas by bribing Korean officials working overseas. The ethnic Koreans also gained family registrations by faking birth records in Korea. This finding is just one example that signifies the laxity in the supervision of the immigration system. The government must eliminate the roots of such corruption by completely overhauling the system. What is most important is the need to shape up and discipline civil servants.

The first step will be for the Ministry of Justice, which overseas overall visa issuance, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which handles short-term visa issuance, to step up supervision and education of consular representatives. Staffers at the Immigration Bureau under the Justice Ministry were dispatched to the overseas legations where workloads of visa issuance were expanding greatly, such as China, to work as consuls. The next step was to manage the visa tasks more effectively. Sadly, some of the experts joined hands with brokers and illegally issued visas. That illustrates just how slack discipline has become.

We also wonder whether such corruption is confined solely to cases unearthed in this case. It's not just ethnic Koreans in China who yearn for Korean work visas, but people from many developing countries in Asia want to make money in Korea. Rumors have circulated for a long time that brokers were swarming into Korea and to other countries to aid applicants. Many ethnic Koreans in China and people from third countries received visas after paying large sums of money to the brokers, which forces the visa acquirers to illegally stay in Korea to pay back the money even after their visas have expired.

Using brokers is an expedient way to acquire visas for those who cannot get visas through ordinary ways, or to speed up the process of getting visas. It is safe to assume that there was collusion between the brokers and the visa issuing officials. From this fact one can gain only one conclusion: Authorities must have looked the other way, a situation that must be stopped immediately.
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