Migrants wed to stay in Korea

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Migrants wed to stay in Korea

Illegal immigrants are luring Korean women, including the mentally disabled, into marriage so they can stay in the country, the Ministry of Justice said yesterday.

According to the ministry, many foreigners, mostly from Southeast Asian countries, are using marriage to legalize their residential status.

“We suspect an increasing number of foreigners are marrying Korean women solely to obtain legal residential rights,” an official at the Justice Ministry said.

Korean law stipulates that alien workers are allowed to stay in Korea for up to three years. If they marry a Korean, long-term residential rights are granted and citizenship can be obtained after two years. Numerous instances in which Korean women were deceived have been reported.

A Pakistani man succeeded in becoming a naturalized citizen by marrying a Korean woman, but it was discovered later that he had a wife and five children in his homeland.

A Bangladeshi man lived with a Korean woman for three months and finally got married to her, but a Justice Ministry fact-finding committee discovered that the woman was mentally-challenged and was being taken advantage of.

The ministry said in order to stop the practice it will strengthen its screening system before changing visas of foreigners who marry Korean nationals.

By Hong Hye-jin [enational@joongang.co.kr]
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