New rules in effect for international marriages

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New rules in effect for international marriages

A set of new rules aimed at minimizing “problematic” international marriages will take effect starting this week in a bid to reduce their negative social impact, the Ministry of Justice said yesterday.

Domestic violence and other problems have widely been reported among marriages between South Korean men and foreign women, largely as a result of matchmaking agencies that do not properly check the financial and mental health backgrounds of marriage seekers.

The stricter rules on issuing F-2 spouse visas, to be effective on Monday, require future South Korean husbands to take courses on international marriage before inviting their foreign spouses to the country.

“With the explosive growth in international marriages, the aim is to prevent reckless and inappropriate international marriages from becoming a social problem,” said a ministry official. “We will come up with follow-up measures after observing progress on the implementation (of the new rules).”

The ministry said it has notified the public of the details of the new rules, under which South Koreans seeking spouses from seven Asian countries are required to take the courses on international marriage.

Spouses from the seven countries - Cambodia, China, Mongolia, the Philippines, Thailand, Uzbekistan and Vietnam - have high rates of naturalization and divorce in South Korea, but the list of countries may later be changed, the ministry said.

In recent years, South Korea has seen a sharp rise in the number of international marriages as more local men, especially those in the countryside, tie the knot with women from other Asian nations. According to Statistics Korea, international marriages numbered 33,300 in 2009, compared with 4,710 in 1990.

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