Ministries given guidelines to help with immigrants

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Ministries given guidelines to help with immigrants


The National Human Rights Commission said yesterday it has given 10 related ministries, including the Ministry of Justice, guidelines to protect the rights of immigrants in Korea and urged them to reflect the guidelines in their policy making.

The information is divided into seven sections: migrant workers, married immigrants, children of immigrants, refugees and stateless people, overseas Koreans, unregistered immigrants and prevention of racial discrimination. There are 30 different categories under each section.

Concerning the rights of migrant workers, the guideline suggests that upon a local employer’s approval to rehire a worker who hasn’t violated any rules or laws, he or she should undergo a simplified re-entry process to work again in Korea.

The guideline concerning immigrants who come to Korea for marriage called for more measures to protect foreign brides from domestic violence and urged the ministries to come up with a stronger safety net to protect them from crimes such as human trafficking.

According to the National Human Rights Commission, there are currently 144,000 foreign immigrants who are residing here after marrying a Korean partner. However, the commission added that there should be guidelines to help these immigrants, especially foreign brides, to adapt to Korean society without feeling “racially discriminated.”

For example, the National Human Rights Commission said expressions that international brokers use that “treat foreign brides as products” must also be regulated.

For foreign children who reside in Korea without Korean citizenship, the commission insisted that these children should have the right to be educated and also urged against cracking down on stateless children or those who are residing in Korea illegally. Parents of these children, who are illegal immigrants, refuse to send their children to schools or facilities to be educated for fear that they will get caught, resulting in the deportment of the entire family.

It also suggested that foreign children without parents should be protected under the Korean welfare system.

Moreover, the guideline called for a preventive measure to protect unregistered immigrants, arguing that these immigrants’ rights are not always protected properly, as some officers don’t follow proper procedures.

The National Human Rights Commission said it collected opinions from civic groups and experts by holding discussions and information-gathering sessions.

“As our country becomes a society of multiculturalism, new human rights policies are urgently needed. However, Koreans still lack awareness toward the rights of immigrants and related policies are either overlapping in different ministries or are not yet integrated,” said Shim Sang-don, director of the research bureau at the National Human Rights Commission.



By Yim Seung-hye [sharon@joongang.co.kr]

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