My brother, my selfEthnic Koreans living in China and the former Soviet Union can now enter Korea and find jobs more easily. The Korean government has introduced a new system that will issue working visas to ethnic Koreans that allow them to stay for up to three years after their first entry to Korea and for another two after their second visit. Under this system, Koreans living abroad with no relatives or connections to Korea are allowed to get jobs.
While Koreans living in countries such as the United States and Japan have freely visited their homeland, ethnic Koreans residing in China and the former Soviet Union have not been treated so well and have often become illegal immigrants after overstaying their visas. Although belated, it is good that the government has decided to correct this problem. The move will help ethnic Koreans build social status and boost their esteem.
Among 3.8 million ethnic Koreans who do not have Korean citizenship, 70 percent live in China and the former Soviet Union. Most of them are Koreans, or their descendants, who left Korea voluntarily, or were forced to leave, during the Japanese occupation. These Koreans, our brothers, have endured hardship while retaining the hope that they might come home. They are victims of our tumultuous modern history.
From an economic prospective, the new regulations for visas are expected to help Korea’s medium- and small-sized companies and its service industries, which have been struggling with chronic manpower shortages. According to the Small and Medium Business Administration, because Koreans avoid jobs that require strenuous physical labor and low wages, small- and medium-sized companies have far less manpower than they need. Even if some ethnic Koreans bring problems, we should embrace them and try to understand their difficulties. Blood is blood, brothers are brothers; we should never forget that.
There are many rumors that in neighboring countries, crooked brokers deceive ethnic Koreans who have little information about their true status. The government should work closely with China and other countries so that the new regulations governing ethnic Koreans can operate smoothly. If ethnic Koreans become financially better off by working in Korea and thus return to the place of their birth with a good impression, the bonds between all Koreans will become stronger. The government should also consult with China and other countries concerned to examine ways to issue double citizenship to ethnic Koreans. A country is only a homeland if its front door is open to all its people.