On December 31, 2008, a new bill was introduced to the National Assembly. This bill will require all foreigners applying for work visas to undergo criminal background checks and health checks. These are the rules E-2 visa holders are currently under. This will apply to teachers, professionals, entertainers, temporary workers, everybody. The rationale is that because “a good many” foreigners have criminal records for drug and sexual crimes, and have infectious diseases, the net must be drawn around all the foreigners, not just E-2 visa holders.
Separately from this bill, which is scheduled for a vote in March, the Justice Ministry on Wednesday announced a revision of the enforcement ordinance of the Immigration Control Law. Specifically, E-2 visa holders will submit background checks to their home consulates, not to Immigration after they arrive in Korea. This has a basis in law: while you are in your home country, you are not a resident of Korea and therefore not protected by Korean anti-discrimination statutes. Once you arrive here, you are. This means there is less chance of a legal challenge where the rule may otherwise be ruled unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court of Korea. A second significant feature of the new rules are that no foreigner with a criminal conviction will be allowed an E-2 visa.
Friday, January 9, 2009
ATEK addresses confusion about two separate rules.
The blog for ATEK, the Association for Teachers of English in Korea, has addressed some of the confusion regarding new immigration stuff, some confusion circulated on my blog, too. An excerpt from their entry slash press release: