ID scheme reaches out to the Korean diaspora

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ID scheme reaches out to the Korean diaspora

Korean nationals with who have residency permits in foreign countries may be issued national identification cards starting in 2015, the Ministry of Security and Public Administration said.

Currently, Koreans with foreign residency status face restrictions on their financial transactions and in employment because they don’t qualify for national identification cards, which are comparable to a Social Security number in the United States.

Their ID cards become invalid once they receive permanent residency in another country. The ministry said it submitted a plan to the Cabinet yesterday, in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Justice, to revise the Resident Registration Act to enable those Koreans to simultaneously hold a Korean ID.

It would allow Koreans with foreign permanent residency to apply for a national ID card if they return to the country and stay for a period longer than 30 days. Even if such individuals were to go abroad again, the card would not expire.

With the revision, people over 17 years old will be able to receive a national ID card that will indicate they are residing abroad, but will enjoy easier financial and real estate transactions and have the ability to enter into lease contracts.

The card’s number is used for all forms of records including banking, online registrations and transactions, and social welfare benefits.

A public administration ministry official said, “If this measure is passed, Koreans who migrated abroad who return to Korea will have less inconvenience in their financial activities and also form a stronger sense of kinship and belonging to the country.”

The Park Geun-hye administration has put an emphasis on reaching out to Korean nationals living abroad.

The National Assembly says there are some 1.15 million Koreans with permanent residency in other countries. Of those, 71,000 were living in Korea as of last year.



BY SARAH KIM [sarahkim@joongang.com]

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