New rules protect E-6 visa holders

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New rules protect E-6 visa holders

The Ministry of Justice on Tuesday announced new policy measures aimed at improving the human rights of foreigners working in the local hotel and entertainment sectors with the E-6 visa.

The new measures to strengthen screening and monitoring for applicants and holders of the E-6 visa, dubbed the “culture and entertainment” visa, will take effect at the beginning of next year, the ministry said.

The E-6 visa is issued for foreigners planning to work in music, art, literature, sports, entertainment, advertisements and fashion modeling. Foreign employees in tourist hotels and entertainment restaurants, in particular, are said to have been vulnerable to human rights violations, ministry officials said.

Under the revised rules, local immigration offices will hold direct meetings and interviews with foreign workers in the hotel and entertainment sectors to ascertain whether they suffered human rights violations, including sex trafficking. The authorities have had difficulties recognizing rights violations, as employers and agents usually handle the paperwork on behalf of foreign workers.

The ministry will shorten the period of stay allowed for E-6 visa holders from the current maximum of one year to six months in order to exercise closer supervision on the genuineness of employment and legal violations.

In addition, health insurance coverage and submission of a written rights violation questionnaire will be mandatory for foreign employees in the hotel and entertainment sectors.

The National Human Rights Commission of Korea produced the written questionnaire form for foreign employees in 2017 to better confirm whether they are victimized by human rights violations.

The ministry will also restrict invitations of new employees from countries for which the illegal foreign worker rate is higher than 40 percent in Korea’s hotel and entertainment sectors.

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