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Visa Rules Favor Gyopo Teachers Over Non-Koreans?

According to the Korea Times, some are complaining that Korea’s visa rules favor ethnic Koreans, or gyopo, over non ethnic-Koreans by exempting the former from criminal background checks and medical exams testing for drug use:

South Korea’s visa policy has been accused of favoring “gyopo” or ethnic Korean English teachers over other foreign nationals, with this favoritism creating loopholes in the system making it easier for those with criminal and drug records to go undetected. However, the government has indicated it has no immediate plan to change visa rules.

Many foreign nationals and operators of language institutes or hagwon claim that the government should apply the same visa screening rules to ethnic Korean English teachers as those applied to other foreigners seeking E-2 visas.

“The Korean immigration authorities require native English speakers to submit criminal records and health checkups, but gyopo are exempted from the requirements. Korean Americans, Korean Canadians and other foreign nationals of Korean descent are not always clean from drugs and diseases,” said Choi Chang-jin, the director at the Korea Association of Foreign Language Academies. “It’s an unfair visa policy in the eyes of other foreigners.”

He said he has witnessed some English instructors who were once expelled from Korea return to the country with other visas such as an F-2 or F-4, taking advantage of this system.

Lots of bitching and accusations follow. Particularly interesting was the case of one non-Korean married to a Korean who was asked to undergo medical and security tests even though he’s on an F-2 visa. I won’t speculate on how common a practice that is.

The Korean Immigration Service, meanwhile, argues that it’s acting within reason:

Regarding the complaints, the Korea Immigration Service said it was “reasonable discrimination under the Immigration Law.”

Kim Tae-soo, an immigration official said, “It’s our authority and policy to favor ethnic Koreans. We know there might be unqualified ethnic Koreans teaching English here, but you also need to understand there is no 100 percent perfect system. Other European countries also favor to their own people.”

Just from anectodal evidence (i.e., what I read in the papers), gyopo account for a good deal of the foreign drug crime in Korea, so I do find it odd that immigration authorities would take such an easy-going attitude with them.

For the record, I don’t find it unreasonable that Korea makes it easier for gyopo in matters of immigration — they do have ethnic ties to the country, after all. But if you’re going to allow them to work in schools, they should be subject to the same kinds of background checks as anyone else.

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  • user-81

    The rules favor F-series visa holders over others. F-series visa holders are not just kyopos and not all kyopos are F-series visa holders.

    If they want law and order, the solution is to require everyone including F-series visa holders to pass through those hoops of criminal background check, health check, and whatever other check. And if they don’t pass, send them packing, even if they’re married to a Korean national.

  • madar

    Hey, let’s get real here. Kyopos deserve to have an easier time getting visas. As all second and third generation ethnic Koreans will soon return to Korea, teach in the boondocks, for half the money, while occasionally taking crap should their Korean not be 100% perfect, all for love of the motherland. The government said so, so it’ll happen! Right! Right? Rigghtttt….

  • http://www.metropolitician.com The Metropolitician

    I don’t know which logic is more inane — the immigration office basically saying, “Well, we have the right to discriminate unfairly if we want” or the non-Korean visa holders asking that kyopos be burdened with the same unnecessary and discriminatory regulations that they should be more actively resisting, not asking to be expanded to other groups to make themselves feel better.

    “Give me fair and equal treatment by expanding these idiotic policies to everyone!” Great logic.

    It’s clear that the regulations are unfair, unnecessary, and make the situation worse. People in the affected group should push back against them — not demand that more people be subject to them. By making this argument, they’re legitimizing the validity of Immigration’s twisted logic by making most of these regulations in the first place.

  • http://www.metropolitician.com The Metropolitician

    “…in making…” Sorry.

  • http://dramman.blogspot.com Dram_man

    Something odd is going on with the F-2 getting a medical. If I was ever asked that, for whatever the job, I would walk. F-2′s are pretty easily hirable. Why didn’t he just walk away?

  • MrMao

    “Reasonable discrimination”

    Acceptable rates of death. Inoffensive racism. Contradictions in terms.

    “People in the affected group should push back against them — not demand that more people be subject to them.”

    In a country that states that discrimination against them is allowed by law, how can they?

  • gbevers

    If it is “reasonable discrimination under the immigration law,” then doesn’t that means that Korea’s immigration law is discriminatory?

    Would it be “reasonable discrimination” for the US to require all “non-white” visa applicants to pass an English proficiency test?

    I think it is “reasonable discrimination” for the Korean government to require foreign nationals to pass medical and criminal background checks, but I do not think it is “reasonable” to exempt foreign nationals just because they happen to have a Korean family name. Foreign nationals with Korean ancestry are just as likely to be criminals and disease carriers as foreign nationals without Korean ancestry.

    There is nothing “reasonable” about such discriminatory laws.

  • http://www.victorymanual.com Alex

    All animals are created equal…but some are more equal than others.

  • eujin

    gbevers,

    Ancestral visas are quite common. The British have them for example, although I don’t know the English for “gyopo”

    http://www.ukvisas.gov.uk/en/howtoapply/infs/inf9ukancestry

    UK Immigration policy does distinguish between South African Citizens with British ancestry and those without.

    Probably the reason why countries like the US and Australia don’t have similar systems is that there aren’t a vast number of ancestors of Americans and Australians populating the world.

    You could probably find most countries have some legislation that is technically discriminatory, affirmative action, Treaty of Waitangi obligations, Bumiputra… Poor old Arnie can’t run for President (allegedly).

    Does anyone know the equivalent English word for “gyopo”?

  • iwshim

    Terrible journalism.

    1. The article is based on rumors. Not a single name, it is all hearsay! Outrageous!
    a. “ He said he has witnessed some English instructors who were once expelled from Korea return to the country with other visas such as an F-2 or F-4, taking advantage of this system. “
    b. “E-2 visa regulations are not reasonable. In fact the rules promote racism,’’ said a Canadian who is teaching English in Gyeonggi Province, asking not to be named.
    c. “I know of some gyopo here with criminal records holding F-4 visas. They are teaching at hagwon. Korean visa rules favoring certain foreigners by race is definitely unfair,’’said a Korean American who is teaching English at an elementary school under the state-run English program with an E-2 visa.
    d. A former English teacher in Cheonan also told The Korea Times that he was working with several unqualified ethnic Korean teachers.
    “They are all Canadian-Koreans who have never been to college. You might want to check their backgrounds in Canada for drugs,’’he said.
    2. The title – Ethnic Korean Teachers Not Screened for Criminal, Drug Record – and premise of the story is a LIE. F class visas are resident visas and Ethnic Koreans have nothing to do with the article. As an F class visa holder I had go through a six week security check before I qualified and I am now a resident of Korea.

    The Korea Times has hit a new low.

  • gbevers

    Eujin,

    Even if a person is applying for an ancestry visa, why should that exempt them from medical and criminal background checks? Do ancestry visa applicants in the UK receive such exemptions?

  • eujin

    gbevers,

    I don’t know the details. Heads of State and other “non-criminals” are exempt from the biometric conditions like finger-printing. People from Bangladesh, Ghana (which also takes applications from Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo and Niger), Kenya (which also take applications from residents of Eritrea and Somalia), Pakistan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Thailand (which also takes applications from Cambodia and Laos) are the only ones being screened for TB, although I don’t know the specifics of how this policy is applied.

    I do know that Aussies don’t need a health or criminal background check to work in New Zealand whereas Brits do. There are wider reasons for this, but it is not based on the fact than an Aussie is less likely to burden the health and justice systems than a Brit.

    The answer to your first question is probably related to the idea that someone who contracts TB abroad can get medivaced home for treatment, whereas others can’t. Legally and in public perception, rightly or wrongly, gyopos are seen as more Korean than whitey.

  • MigukNamja

    There is an alternate view. The Immigration Office is not favoring ethnic Koreans at all. Rather, they are doing exactly what we’ve known all along : discriminating against and discouraging foreign English teachers.

    This is what happens when Korean culture chooses to stick its hand in the sand and scapegoat foreigners since they’re the easy target.

    Classic lose-lose.

    Very sad for both Korea and for foreigners.

  • kerplunk

    What does “stick its hand in the sand” mean?

    I don’t mean to be the one to pull the wool over your ears and make you the black sheep among the pigeons, but you aren’t you making a mole out of a mountain here?

    The most effective diatribe is always a coherent rant.

  • http://yeomso.blogspot.com/ The Goat

    And if they don’t pass, send them packing, even if they’re married to a Korean national.

    Full reciprocity.

  • JG29A

    I do not think it is “reasonable” to exempt foreign nationals just because they happen to have a Korean family name.

    Try rephrasing that as “…to punish Koreans just because they happen to have a different-looking passport and not speak their own language well.” :)

  • MrMao

    “F class visas are resident visas and Ethnic Koreans have nothing to do with the article. ”

    Um, you might want to stop contradicting yourself in everything you say. F visas are for ethnic Koreans born overseas, Korean overseas adoptees returning home and foreigners married to Koreans. Just living in Korea (being resident) doesn’t help you get an F visa. Also, this article has everything to do with ethnic Koreans. It talks about how they can take advantage of a loophole. Well, it’s not really a loophole when the government proudly says that it discriminates.

    As for comparisons to the UK, don’t be ridiculous. The UK (and Ireland) give ancestry visas but they don’t extend beyond your grandparents (generally) and they also welcome hundreds of thousands of non-white, non-British immigrants who are entitled to equal treatment under the law, permanent residency and eventually citizenship with full voting rights regardless of their blood or who they marry. Korea fails to do ANY of these things. Korea tries to project itself as a liberal democracy but its racial thinking is more than mildly offensive to freedom-loving people everywhere.

  • user-81

    Full reciprocity.

    Doesn’t the United States already do background checks on green card applicants who are married to U.S. citizens and doesn’t the U.S. also reject applications if a person has certain types of criminal background? A question not a statement.

  • MrMao

    “For the record, I don’t find it unreasonable that Korea makes it easier for gyopo in matters of immigration — they do have ethnic ties to the country, after all. ”

    Robert, you betray your principles. Korea is holding itself back with its exclusionary immigration policies. Part of Korea’s biggest problem is its inability to see itself as part of larger human issues. Until they stop patting themselves on the back for swallowing Darwinian racial theory hook, line and sinker they will always be fools on the world stage and ignored by those with common sense.

  • wjk, 검은 머리 외국인

    US gyopos who want to do this should pass

    an HIV test.

    And screen for illicit drugs.

    Illicit drug use among gyopos are very, very high.

    Marijuana probably being the most common.

    Korean National Police can document that it is US gyopos who are almost always the main or co culprits in illicit drug trafficking in South Korea.

    I’m sorry, but there’s a lot of degenerates here.

  • wjk, 검은 머리 외국인

    since usage alone is cause for prosecution, i recommend the police require an entry and exit urine test for all US gyopos, and especially 2nd class Canadian gyopos.

    if they are interested in spending more money on the prison system, they will see a big jump.

    if they are interested in scaring away drug users from Korea, this is a great plan.

  • wjk, 검은 머리 외국인

    since many enter Korea to use the Korean health system essentially for free, why not make the gyopos pay for the cost of the urine test?

  • wjk, 검은 머리 외국인

    you never know. I’ve met Koreans in their 40s and 50s using marijuana.

  • JG29A

    Marijuana probably being the most common.

    Marijuana is always the most common, wjk, for the blindingly obvious reason that unlike cocaine, opiates, etc., it’s a reasonable recreational drug, safer in many ways than the legal Big Three of tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine. Screening for it is pretty ridiculous, since just about anybody who has smoked it regularly in their home country can give it up without much of a problem when they travel or live abroad.

  • McGenghis

    WJK: it only takes about 3 or 4 weeks for the degenerate to pee out all that radical, left-wing, anti-god drug juice of filth.

    Idiocy apparently sticks around a lot longer. It does run into a toilet either, but winds up on the internet.

  • McGenghis

    WJK: it only takes about 3 or 4 weeks for the degenerate to pee out all that radical, left-wing, anti-god drug juice of filth.

    Idiocy apparently sticks around a lot longer. It does run into a toilet either, but winds up on the internet.

  • wjk, 검은 머리 외국인

    no, no, no. There is substantial evidence that users of MJ are also sellers of MJ in Korea.

    Corruption of the Koreans via MJ must stop. Your line of reasoning above only appeals to former users. An unnecessary demand for a billion dollar market to be created in Korea? Can you do that with chocolate bar?

    the whole idea of screening is to scare off users and thus reduce sellers.

    It’s brilliant. LMB should give it a thought.

  • McGenghis

    See what I mean? No one is immune!

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    Until they stop patting themselves on the back for swallowing Darwinian racial theory hook, line and sinker they will always be fools on the world stage and ignored by those with common sense.

    There’s a big difference between “swallowing Darwinian racial theory” and accepting that overseas Koreans have ties to Korea that, say, Paraguayans do not.

    It might also be argued that in light of the French suburb riots and the Danish cartoon fiasco, it’s those countries with wide-open immigration policies that will be “fools on the world stage and ignored by those with common sense.” But that’s another discussion…

  • wjk, 검은 머리 외국인

    it creates an inconvenience for the user when visiting Korea.

    Can you imagine a gyopo getting handcuffed in Incheon or missing his parent’s funeral or cousin’s wedding, because he suddenly had to visit Korea, and could not time quitting MJ weeks ahead?

    it’s like trying to buy plane tickets weeks ahead.

    trust me, a bunch of Koreans will get cuffed or voluntarily skip visiting Korea, when they have pressing needs to do so.

    how shitty they will feel when they miss out, because they’ve been tweaking.

  • broken76

    Hmm I think the reporter needs to do more research before writing articles like this.

    First of all F2s,4s and 5s work under a completely different set of rules when it comes to working in Korea. They can pretty much work any job a Korean can and are treated like Korean citizens, hence the lack of a background check from back home. Funny thing is from what I know they can’t work 3D jobs since Koreans can’t work them either. Not all of the F Visa holders are teachers. It doesn’t really make sense to require all of them to jump through the Visa hoops. A good number of F Visa holders don’t even work in Korea.

    Now if they were teachers they do have to get a medical and criminal background check as well as submit a diploma showing that they graduated. This law applies to all teachers in Korea (natives, gyoppos, married to a Korean, E-2, etc.) this is through the Ministry of Education and is a needed for the teacher to legally work at either a school or hagwon. If you look they should have documents posted on the wall of the school showing who are legal teachers.

    Now if the school and teacher do things illegally then it’s a different story, but then again you don’t need to have an F Visa to work illegally, I’m sure there are thousands of illegals without any Visa at all in country regardless of race or nationality.

  • http://yeomso.blogspot.com/ The Goat

    user-81

    I have no idea what the requirements are for the people who are legally there. Should they round up and ship out the hundreds of thousands of illegals? They clearly don’t meet whatever standards are in place.

    I’m on F-2 and would do the same as mentioned if requested to jump through the hoops – tell them to fuck off.

  • BKW

    I think it’s unfortunate that the gyopo issue got thrown in to this, as if there weren’t already enough friction between the gyopos and non-gyopo foreigners.

    As user-81 points out in the first post there are plenty other English teachers that are not reached by the E-2 regulations. Not only F visa holders but also English speaking Korean citizens who work the same jobs, and of course if you really want to get down to it – all teachers of young students who work in Korea. That means your average Korean school teacher.

    If the law is there to protect the kids (as Immigration has said it is) then your first question is – how can those kids be harmed? To exclude Korean teachers from the start is to exclude the greatest source of the harm. For starters, there are lots more Korean teachers than non-Korean teachers, and there is certainly a well-documented record of Korean kids being harmed by them in all the ways contemplated by the E-2 regulations. So why exclude them?

    Today’s article was significant because the Korean Immigration Service provided the answer to that question: because we discriminate against people who don’t have Korean blood by favoring ‘Korean-blooded non-citizens’ over ‘non-Korean-blooded non-citizens’.

    This is a big deal because previously there had been no admission of discrimination by the government. Now it admits discrimination but claims it is reasonable and therefore permissible. “Reasonable discrimination” is a term of art under Korean law.

    The phrase may seem troubling and indeed it did trouble the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (formed under the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) to which Korea is a member party) who asked for a clarification of the term. In its 2006 report Korea clarified by replying: “The Committee’s request for clarification of the actual interpretation and application of ‘unreasonable discrimination’ under [] the National Human Rights Commission Act in its final comments on the eleventh and twelfth periodic report, was met through the amendment of the above-mentioned phrase to ‘without reasonable clause [sic]’”. (CERD/C/KOR/14 – 18 AUG 2006) [yep Korea misspelled cause.]

    That is, Korea decided to amend the term to reflect an affirmative action type of differentiation generally recognized as permissible under international and most national law systems.

    A fairly recent formulation of this principle under Korean law can be seen in the National Human Rights Commission Act of the Republic of Korea Article 2 (Definitions), section 4: “[t]he term ‘discriminatory act violating the right to equality’ means any of the following acts committed without reasonable cause based on . . . ethnic origin[.]” The list is actually very long but “ethnic origin” is what we’re dealing with here. The same section deals with “favorable treatment” which shall not be considered a discriminatory act if the “favorable treatment [is] for the purpose of remedying existing discrimination[.]” (For US legal eagle types see US v. Paradise)

    Personally, I think the Kyopos might have an argument here! How many times has the highly-qualified Kyopo been turned down for the not-so-qualified round eye with that, how shall I say it, “native-speaker look”? Plenty, right?There’s your existing discrimination. But this isn’t the tact the Korean government is going for. Instead their policy is just “to favor ethnic Koreans”. And you know what? That’s ok too. In fact the citation to EU law is a good one.

    Under International law and as generally accepted by most nations, States can play favorites for purposes of immigration. There were a couple of famous cases that dealt with this issue. Notably, and I quote from Special Rapporteur, Mr. David Weissbrodt’s report on the Rights of Non-Citizens to the COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS (26 MAY 2003):

    “Adopting an approach toward discrimination taken earlier by the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights found non-discriminatory a proposed amendment to the naturalization provisions of the Constitution of Costa Rica that established preferential naturalization rules for ‘nationals of the other Central American countries, Spaniards and Ibero-Americans’, because they ‘share much closer historical, cultural and spiritual bonds with the people of Costa Rica’ and will ‘more easily and more rapidly assimilated within the national community’. The Court explained that ‘no discrimination exists if the difference in treatment has a legitimate purpose and if it does not lead to situations which are contrary to justice, to reason or to the nature of things”. The Human Rights Committee has followed the same approach in declaring that although a regional economic agreement ‘might constitute an objective and reasonable ground for differentiation, no general rule can be drawn therefrom …’”.

    So nice citation by Mr. Kim, Tae-soo, but lets be clear on something. This is precedent for allowing Kyopos to come in on their own visa, which I strongly agree they should have. They do “share much closer historical, cultural and spiritual bonds with the people of [Korea]’ and will ‘more easily and more rapidly assimilated within the national community’”. (Marmot makes a similar point in his post). But this is not precedent for allowing Kyopos to bypass medical and criminal background check regulations. In order to take that step you would have to argue that because Kyopos “share much closer historical, cultural and spiritual bonds with the people of [Korea]” they are less likely to commit the kind of nasty sexually perverted kind of heinous shit that we know the round eye is particularly susceptible to! Because until you a provide a reasonable, objective and factual basis for such a claim – that my friends would be discrimination – under EU law, international law, and yes even under Korean law.

    But you know what? Foreigners here don’t do anything about it, so guess what? It’s gonna continue. When the NOVA English teaching company in Japan forced all its foreigner teachers to submit to drug testing back in 1994 they protested and got the Osaka bar association to opine the rule violated the right to privacy and the company stopped doing it. Korea can’t even get a group of English teachers to get together a union. (See http://www.generalunion.org/nova/archives/drug)

    The National Human Rights Commission of Korea hasn’t received any complaints about the E-2 visa regulations. AIDS tests, drug tests, criminal background checks for non-citizens ONLY – sure, no problem bring ‘em on. Whatever you say.

    Let me be clear, Korea has a right to protect its citizens and especially its young citizens who can’t protect themselves. But in order to do that the rules have to apply to everyone, citizens and non-citizens alike. And if that’s going to be a problem or inconvenient or infringe on some rights we value then maybe we have to look at those rules more carefully and figure out the best way to balance the interests at stake. The US and most of the countries from where the E-2 visa holder hail have decided that criminal background checks are what they are gonna do for teachers of young children, the drug testing issue is still in debate, AIDS testing – not a chance. But when it comes to those criminal background checks – it’s everyone who has contact with those kids. I mean the bus drivers, the school principal, the lunch ladies, and yes the teachers too. You don’t line up people by what kind of blood they have to decide who’s the threat.

    http://www.humanrights.go.kr/english/guide/form_01.jsp?board_id=Complaint%20Form

  • MrMao

    “AIDS testing-not a chance”

    This is from the Joongang Ilbo last week:

    ” HIV in the military

    October 04, 2008

    Even if HIV-positive conscripts are in boot camp for only two weeks, what parents would ever allow their son to live and be trained with them 24/7?

    It is important to beef up our military capabilities and improve our defense installations, but we still need to do our best to prevent HIV-infected conscripts from entering the military.”

    So, is this a frank admission that soldiers have a lot of sex with each other or is this a major Korean newspaper spreading the lie that you can get AIDS by being in the same room as someone who has the disease?

    Are people who twist reality like this really fit to lead the opinions of a liberal democracy?

    “the citation to EU law is a good one.”

    Perhaps, but when you combine it with South Korea’s stringent naturalization requirements and the fact that foreigners who live here for decades, pay taxes, don’t break laws and work hard have no right to any more representation in Korea than a tourist it makes for a pretty unfriendly place to live, unlike the EU, Although I don’t think Muslims in the EU are getting treated very well either, at least they get passports and rights.

    “It might also be argued that in light of the French suburb riots and the Danish cartoon fiasco, it’s those countries with wide-open immigration policies that will be “fools on the world stage and ignored by those with common sense.” But that’s another discussion…”

    I still know that I’d rather live in Europe.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    I’m somewhat reassured by the unlikelihood that the two Korean-American kids I saw in Seoul who had shaved heads and gang tattoos covering their arms and necks ever attended university.

  • MrMao

    “When the NOVA English teaching company in Japan forced all its foreigner teachers to submit to drug testing back in 1994 they protested and got the Osaka bar association to opine the rule violated the right to privacy and the company stopped doing it.”

    I’d guess that was partly because those same foreigners own their visas and aren’t immediately thrown out of the country if they quit their jobs (as is the case in SK). That would put a lot more lead in our pencils in Korea but you can’t have that because, well, you look funny.

    “Korea can’t even get a group of English teachers to get together a union.”

    Isn’t that illegal? I know that some Berlitz workers did that a while back here but the Korean Kops have been pretty harsh in busting up 3D worker unions. On a sidenote, I’d like to thank the Mad Cow lunatics for taking the heat off of ESL teachers for a while this summer. Guess it’s back on now.

  • MrMao

    Keef Oxford?

    Does that sound like a real name?

    Is this another fake article?

  • MrMao

    “the whole idea of screening is to scare off users and thus reduce sellers. ”

    a) Users who sell to Koreans quickly go to prison.

    b) Sellers, REAL sellers, don’t use.

    It’s not brilliant, it’s based on a faulty perception.

  • MrMao

    “2nd class Canadian gyopos.”

    Thanks, I guess that makes you a 2nd class Korean.

  • Darth Babaganoosh

    #31: “Funny thing is from what I know they can’t work 3D jobs since Koreans can’t work them either.”

    Of course Koreans are allowed to work 3D jobs. They just choose not to, leading to importing foreigners to the jobs.

    “Now if they were teachers they do have to get a medical and criminal background check as well as submit a diploma showing that they graduated. This law applies to all teachers in Korea (natives, gyoppos, married to a Korean, E-2, etc.) this is through the Ministry of Education and is a needed for the teacher to legally work at either a school or hagwon.”

    Uh, there is NO government requirement to submit a diploma for F-ers who are working in hagwons. The hagwon can ASK for them as a condition of employment, but many don’t. Christ, I worked with several ethnic Koreans who have never attended uni. Yes, GEPIK, EPIK and such require such documentation (regardless of nationality or visa), but not hagwons. Not for F-ers.

  • http://bensmatrix.wordpress.com/ ElCanguro

    #37 – I’m pretty sure the interviewer just had no clue how to spell the name “Keith”. The dude ‘Keef’ Oxford can just thank God his name didn’t come out as ‘Kiss’ (키스) in the article.

    Thank goodness the Rolling Stones weren’t in town … Keef Richards would’ve had a right laugh at them buggering his name!

  • user-81

    MrMao:
    So, is this a frank admission that soldiers have a lot of sex with each other or is this a major Korean newspaper spreading the lie that you can get AIDS by being in the same room as someone who has the disease?

    It’s not uncommon for soldiers in training to get injured and bleed. Medical professionals in all advanced countries constantly put on new pairs of gloves and take other precautions “just in case” when they’re handling bleeders so it’s not unreasonable in a military environment.

    I still know that I’d rather live in Europe.

    Seriously, what’s stopping you?

  • gbevers

    If Korean immigration is so concerned about drug users, criminals, and HIV-infected foreigners working in Korea, shouldn’t they require all foreigners, regardless of ethnicity, to be screened? Having ties to Korea does not reduce the risks these people pose to Korean citizens.

    An ancestry visa is fine, but why give it unconditionally? An HIV-infected drug user or murderer with Korean ancestry is just as dangerous as one without such ancestry? Or do Koreans see them as being somehow less dangerous?

  • http://www.jdlink.co.kr Linkd

    An excellent essay, BKW. And ‘let me be clear’, to borrow your phrase, that I want to encourage well-written, well-researched, thoughtful commentary on this blog from professionals with genuine insight to share. Thank you. The thread of logic throughout your essay was clear as a bell, winding its way through a series of rational observations, legal facts and personal analysis.

    Unfortunately, this is Korea, where logic goes to die. As it lies withering and gasping for breath on the cold granite, it looks up, pleading for some understanding, some compassion from its tormentor, only to find a blank stare.

  • eujin

    MrMao,

    “As for comparisons to the UK, don’t be ridiculous. The UK (and Ireland) give ancestry visas but they don’t extend beyond your grandparents (generally) and they also welcome hundreds of thousands of non-white, non-British immigrants who are entitled to equal treatment under the law, permanent residency and eventually citizenship with full voting rights regardless of their blood or who they marry. Korea fails to do ANY of these things.”

    My understanding is that Korea does allow immigrants to obtain citizenship with full voting rights regardless of their blood or who they marry. But I’m not an expert on the rules. If you know better please let me know. There are some who post round here that know the rules better than I do

    http://askakorean.blogspot.com/2008/05/becoming-korean-citizen.html

    The comparison with the UK was for the benefit of gbevers, who was wondering what might be “reasonable discrimination”. I don’t know what you’d define a non-ridiculous comparison to be.

    I know I’d rather be a foreigner in Korea with a non-Korean passport than a Muslim in Denmark with a Danish passport.

  • Pohang

    I was an E2 visa holder for years before I got married, so I have had a lot to say in protest since the stiffer regulation has come in to effect. I think it is ridiculous and discriminatory, not to mention a pain in the ass.

    That said, I am a little disgusted that there are guys around like user-81, who, instead of protesting unfair treatment, would like to see everyone treated equally unfairly.

    Thank god there are others with more balanced and mature views, like metropolitician.

  • user-81

    That said, I am a little disgusted that there are guys around like user-81, who, instead of protesting unfair treatment, would like to see everyone treated equally unfairly.

    Equally unfairly?

    Health and criminal background checks for would-be immigrants? Criminal background checks for teachers? How is that unfair?

    I think the process and the thoroughness of the background checks could be handled a lot better, but having to get a background check to teach children is not unfair. Having to get a background check to essentially immigrate to another country is not unfair. The consistency of the background checks is a real problem. I see nothing wrong with extending it to F-visa holders, whether they’re Korean or not.

    Maybe my “send them packing” comment was too much since I don’t actually support kicking people out of the country for minor criminal violations in the past although I think in some cases they shouldn’t be allowed to work around kids.

  • MrMao

    “I don’t know what you’d define a non-ridiculous comparison to be.”

    Hm. Illuminating.

    “Seriously, what’s stopping you?”

    Gimme a while.

  • user-81

    Gimme a while.

    Gimme a while is what’s stopping you?

    Is it financial? Is it family? Is it something else? If I hated the place I live as much as it looks like you hate Korea, I wouldn’t stick around. I’d go get some other job and drag the family with me.

  • aaronm

    Just from anectodal evidence (i.e., what I read in the papers), gyopo account for a good deal of the foreign drug crime in Korea, so I do find it odd that immigration authorities would take such an easy-going attitude with them.

    There goes Robert again with some more racial profiling without presenting the facts or any hint of a stat. I remember asking you to justify a similar claim vis-a-vis males from Muslim countries and sexual assault in a piece on Ansan, but no such thing was ever forthcoming. Perhaps you’d like to try again?

  • agadan

    I’m a little bit afraid of pointing this out for fear of calling attention and causing a change but in addition to F visa holders, E-1 visa holders are also not asked for a background check, medical exam or anything. My assumption has always been that this because they don’t teach young children but that may not be the case.

  • wjk, 검은 머리 외국인

    i agree with you, aaronm.

    it is the likes of New York Tom who are the major players in the Marijuana supply road to Korea.

    if Ban Kimoon is actually a professional, and he actually reads this blog, he should pass this magnifcient plan of mine to Lee Myungbak and create an illicit drug-free Korea.

    You can smoke, drink, wake up, and have “consentual sex.”

    What more do you need?

    No illicit drugs in Korea.

    No degenerate gyopos dealing drugs in Korea.

    Stop polluting Korea.

    Keep Korea pure.

  • agadan

    Oh, and for E-1 visa holders, if you have the same visa for more than 5 years and can pass a Korean language exam you can apply for permanent residency and an F-5 visa (I believe). However, I believe five years on the same visa is difficult for many in that you can’t change jobs for at least five years. It is not a five-year residency requirement but five years on the exact same visa ie exact same position at the exact same university.

  • KrZ

    wjk if you get to come over here and poison my country with your christo-fascist drivel I should be able to head to Korea and disrupt their innocent society with my anarchist ramblings. It’s only fair.

  • wjk, 검은 머리 외국인

    we, my family, became Christians in America.

  • KrZ

    I’m sorry. Really. I wish they hadn’t done this to you. ;_;

  • gbnhj

    Sorry to come in late to the game, so I’ll simply add to a couple of points:

    agadan is right in that some E-class visa holders may apply for permanent recidency, but according to this government publication (see pg. 144), E-2 visa-holders are also eligible. ‘Eligible’ and ‘able to obtain’ are, of course, different concepts entirely, but for those who’ve continued to work at the same place for five years or more, it may be worth checking into.
    eujin and BKW both make excellent points. Some here seem to argue that ethnic or racial discrimination is abhorant, yet either fail to consider or discount entirely the ways in which immigration policies discriminate against persons economically or socially. Don’t have the required minimum amount of money for an investor visa? So sorry. Are you a dependent who wants to live in Korea with your non-Korean parents, but their visa type won’t allow sponsorship? So sorry. Frankly, the very concept and structure of immigration policies is aimed at limit and control, and is by definition discriminitory. Yet policies which do not attend to race or ethnicity are seen by many as defensible or understandable.

    In truth, we live with and accept many forms of discrimination, and like it or not, Korea is not alone among countries in allowing ethnic and/or racial discrimination to influence its immigration policies.

  • gbnhj

    Hmmm – I corrected the above for formatting and spelling, but the corrected post has been deleted by The Man for some reason.

    Fight The Power.

  • http://www.joeseoulman.blogspot.com joeseoulman

    People who are married to ethnic Koreans also are exempt from the new visa rules that apply to E2 visa holders.

    Keep in mind though, we F-2 holders have to pass the most difficult test of all.

    The Korean Mother-in-law test.

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    wjk — Do you have some sort of proof that New York Tom is dealing pot, or are you just slandering random commenters again?

  • wjk, 검은 머리 외국인

    Mr. Koehler, I understand.

    I will not attack New York Tom.

    Respectfully, wjk.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    #47,

    You conveniently forget to consider that E-2 and F-visas are not the same. Just because someone with an F-5 visa works as an English instructor doesn’t mean that he or she has the same legal status as you do. He or she is a permanent resident with the right to vote in the local elections and reside in Korea for as long as he or she wishes, you’re on a short-term work visa sponsored by your employer. Think about that for a second.

  • KrZ

    Slander of random commenters is the best part about this blog. Don’t take away the lulz ;_;

  • Pohang

    @someguyinkorea

    I can understand what he (user-81) says about criminal background checks for teachers–that I agree with in principle, actually. But, in practice, it would have to apply to all teachers equally, and I don’t think we will EVER see that.

    There is nothing inherently less dangerous about a Korean national with a record than a foreigner with one. Obviously, the degree of risk depends on the person in question and the nature of their past crime, not their nationality.

    For those of us who are married to Korean nationals, and whose work is not related to our immigration status, the slightly more stable situation is very welcome, and necessary given that we are here long term and must, to a larger extent than some others, adapt to Korean society.

    Joeseoulman’s comment about mothers-in-law is no joke. Especially not if, like me, you find yourself at her table at least once a week. I sometimes feel like I’m in one of those silly dramas on tv. So I tend to think we F’ers have earned the right to skip the visa run, and the medical nonsense too, for that matter.

  • BKW

    Linkd – thanks for the kind words. I think that good arguments, logic, and especially some action can work wonders, even if Korea. When I arrived in Korea immigration officials used to laugh if you pointed out that it was unfair for foreign husbands to be denied F-2 visas when foreign wives of Koreans could get them. They’d toss their heads back and say, “then take ‘em back to your country!” The Korean delegation wasn’t laughing too much when their practices were soundly condemned by the international community during the Universal Periodic Review, and at the ICCPR and ICESCR party meetings. (Korea, as you may know, takes it’s ‘imagey’ pretty seriously – it doesn’t like to look back in international company.)

    Korea amended the law and now everyone just takes it for granted that foreign guys get F-2s. Why did it change? Because complaints were made. Did I mention the National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK), which report directly to international organizations and is a strong advocate of non-citizen’s rights has not received a single complaint about the E-2 visa?? And filing a complaint is an anonymous procedure you can do online in about 5 minutes. So we can blame the Koreas, or perhaps we should be shouldering some of that blame ourselves.

    The all too complacent white English teacher group just seem to be content to have their names dragged through the mud. Take the Ansan English Camp incident in May 2006 where a Korean teacher attempted to sexually assault middle school girls and the Korean Teachers and Educational Workers Union blamed it on “unchecked native speakers [with] free attitudes about sex [and] lack of responsibility.” No native speakers even involved in the incident. Any lawsuits, even though there were several slam-dunk claims for defamation (Korean Criminal Code Art. 307, 308)? Nope. Any complaints to the NHRCK? Nope. Lots of bitching on the blogs, though.

    There are several examples of government officials just coming right out and saying that the majority of whitey English teachers are abusing Korean women and forcing them to do drugs with them. But the English teachers just take it on the chin. “Oh, it’s Korea… you know.” And then *bang* you’ve got AIDS testing, drug testing, background checks. People have to stand up and say something to counter these kinds of inaccuracies. If you are worried about keeping your jobs (certainly a legitimate concern) there are means for preserving your anonymity.
    http://www.humanrights.go.kr/english/guide/form_01.jsp?board_id=Complaint%20Form

    Mr. Mao – it is not illegal for foreigners to form unions in Korea. The Korea MTU (Migrants Trade Union), some foreigners with some balls, took the issue to court and won. The Blue House is challenging the decision, but according to the court foreigners do indeed have a constitutional right to unionize. And English teachers, by the way, are migrant workers too – only with smaller balls.

    gbnhj – “discrimination” is a legal term of art. Just because a State treats someone differently doesn’t mean it’s discrimination at law. Now we can take umbrage at such a statement on moral grounds, but this isn’t a moral argument, it’s a legal one.

    International and municipal law does not forbid every difference in treatment. “Equality does not mean identical treatment in every instance”. (The Council of Europe 1994). However, “differential treatment based on citizenship or immigration status will constitute discrimination if the criteria for such differentiation, judged in the light of the objectives and purpose of the [CERD] Convention, are not applied pursuant to a legitimate aim, and are not proportional to the achievement of this aim.” (Gen. Rec. 30 to the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) to which Korea is a member party). This is the standard that KOREA agrees is the correct one, they support this document folks.

    So in order for Korea to differentiate between Korean-blooded non-citizens and non-Korean-blooded citizens they need to provide “an objective and reasonable ground for differentiation” (See CCPR/C/74/D/965/2000). As I pointed out in my earlier post Korea can provide such for creating an ethnic Korean visa. Again, in order for the differentiation to be legitimate “the criteria used [must be] reasonable and objective” – “differentiation which is not factually justified is inadmissible” (Council of Europe, 1994). Here is where the E-2 visa regulations have a problem. According to the government, you E-2 English teachers (full disclosure: I’m not one) are more likely to commit criminal acts, sexually abuse Korean women and children and give them AIDS, and take hard drugs. But where is the data? Pot arrests? Yeah, maybe you English teachers smoke up more than the citizen population but you can’t include those stats because pot isn’t tested through the E-2 regs only ‘hard drugs’. Ok then, hard drug arrests of English teacher? More than citizens? Doesn’t look like the data supports that assumption. And sexual assaults? Let’s see the data – it certainly doesn’t look like English teachers are more likely to commit them. In fact all data points to the non-citizen population being significantly LESS likely to commit ANY of these offences. AIDS infections spread by the foreign population? Data anyone? Because without such, “differentiation which is not factually justified is inadmissible”. There must be “an objective and reasonable ground for differentiation”

    English teachers need to speak up about these regulations. If you don’t they won’t change. Again, recall the F-2 visa used to be available only to female spouses. People fought against the discrimination and were successful, right here in Korea.

    Thus far the UK has been the first to comment on the discriminatory nature of the E-2 regulations in the Universal Periodic Review mechanism of the Human Rights Council. Korea is currently under review. This year, the UK submitted the following advanced written question to the Republic of Korea: “HIV/AIDS Discrimination – Some visa categories, notably ‘E-2 Teaching Foreign Languages’ ask applicants for their HIV status, and there have been reports of foreigners being deported because of their HIV status. Does the ROK Government consider this to be discrimination and, if so, what measures will it take to address this issue?”

    http://www.humanrights.go.kr/english/guide/form_01.jsp?board_id=Complaint%20Form

  • Darth Babaganoosh

    #62, but if you are TEACHING CHILDREN (the argument the government keeps insisting is the reason why the checks were put in place) then it doesn’t matter what your visa/residency/citizenship is. Anyone teaching children should have background checks done. Everyone teaching public school does (Korean or foreign, E2 or F2 or F4). Why are hagwons different?

  • Pohang

    @BKW

    Impressive, I have to say. That’s, by far, the most informative post I’ve seen in, well….ever. Since coming to Korea anyway. And while this does not apply directly to me so much anymore–I don’t teach and have an unrelated job–lots of people I know could benefit from this information.

    If there were any serious effort to unionize, or contest E-2 regs, I would definitely be willing to help out in any way I could. I agree when you say that the E-2 community has been prone to take it too much on the chin.

    You seem to have all your ducks in a row. You’ve indicated that you are not a teacher–I suppose it might be too much to ask what it is you do? If so, strike that last.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    #66,

    Oh, please. We all know when and for whose benefit the new E-2 visa rules were written. It’s got nothing to do with protecting the kids.

    In any case…Do you seriously think that permanent residents would accept being made to travel abroad every year to get a criminal background check? Remember, we can vote…So do our spouses and in-laws.

  • gbnhj

    BKW,

    In general, I agree with what you’ve posted above. Non-citizens’ rights will expand only to the extent that they make people aware of their situation. I do have questions related to this part of your post, however:

    Take the Ansan English Camp incident in May 2006 where a Korean teacher attempted to sexually assault middle school girls and the Korean Teachers and Educational Workers Union blamed it on “unchecked native speakers [with] free attitudes about sex [and] lack of responsibility.” No native speakers even involved in the incident. Any lawsuits, even though there were several slam-dunk claims for defamation (Korean Criminal Code Art. 307, 308)? Nope. Any complaints to the NHRCK? Nope. Lots of bitching on the blogs, though.

    First, how easy would mounting such a lawsuit have been? What would have been the cost to the non-citicen, and to the lawyers, for mounting such a case? Would the court award financial recompensation with a successful verdict, or might a damages award be granted by the court, and if so how much might that be? Realistically, would lawyers have taken on this case?

    Second, while this situation might raise the hackles of native-speaker teachers, would the NHRCK be the correct agency with which to lodge a complaint? Does a slanderous statement represent a violation or infringement of human rights?

    Please don’t take these questions as criticism of your overall premise, which I believe is well taken. I ask these questions simply because I do not know the answers, yet feel they are germaine to points that you raised in the section quoted above.

  • user-81

    Do you seriously think that permanent residents would accept being made to travel abroad every year to get a criminal background check?

    I support background checks for people working children and for people seeking to live in another country, but I don’t think people should have to leave the country every year to get a criminal background check, if that’s really what’s happening. Is it?

  • BKW

    gbnhj – you make a some good points. Let me see if I can answer them, I put your questions in quotes (wish I knew how to do it the fancy way you did with my quotes!):

    “First, how easy would mounting such a lawsuit have been?”

    Lawsuits are rarely “easy,” but I guess the hardest part would be getting the English teachers off their collective asses to organize. . . um . . . anything. Seems like they’d rather squabble amongst themselves like a bunch of bitches over, say, who was supposed to reload the toner on the copy machine; or make comments to the Korean press over what kind of lowlife compatriots they’re forced to be exposed to in Korea. A little solidarity people, for the love of Pete!

    “What would have been the cost to the non-citizen, and to the lawyers, for mounting such a case?”

    There’d be some costs obviously, and those would have to balanced out with the potential benefits of a victory and what it might mean to the foreign community to get a wicked smack-down judgment on some racist bullshit that we say won’t be tolerated. Cost of lawsuit filed through the Korean court system could be divvied up pro rata between the plaintiff class, and let mastercard handle it. A judgment telling some racist organization to shut their f’ing pie-hole? PRICELESS.

    “Would the court award financial compensation with a successful verdict, or might a damages award be granted by the court, and if so how much might that be?”

    Yeah, damages are available under the sections I quoted, but we are talking about nominal amounts. Maybe 15 million won max. But that didn’t stop Ana Bortz. She only got about 12 grand US.

    Ana who? Ana Bortz, as in BORTZ V. SUZUKI, JUDGMENT OF OCTOBER 12, 1999, HAMAMATSU BRANCH, SHIZUOKA DISTRICT COURT (See Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal, June, 2007 for complete translation from the Japanese; for online info see e.g. http://www.jpri.org/publications/workingpapers/wp88.html)

    Ana Bortz sued a jewelry store in Japan after they shoo’ed her out saying, “no foreigners allowed!” Her theory? That the CERD’s article 2 prohibited that kind of racial bullshit and that article 6 guaranteed a legal remedy and damages. (For info on the CERD see my earlier post, Korea is a member party). And while the Japanese public just kind of rolled their eyes and politely chuckled, Judge Soh Tetsuro opened up a can of righteous whoop-ass and laid down a 33 page decision in Bortz’s favor citing the CERD. Here’s a tidbit:

    “Various provisions of CERD can be applied directly to a private dispute in Japan; the kind of private racial discrimination at issue in this case can be interpreted as a violation of Article 2(d). Specifically: Article 2(d) of CERD reads ‘Each State Party shall prohibit . . . by all appropriate means . . . racial discrimination by any persons . . . .’ Included among the appropriate means is interpreting the treaty so as to apply directly to private relations. Though neither the government nor Diet of Japan adopted legislative measures after ratifying the treaty, this is because the treaty itself is meant to be applied directly. [BKW note: Korea uses the same process, see Korean Constitution Arts. 6(1) and for eye-popping fun 6(2)] Discrimination means conduct in which a person is not treated as another human being . . . Discriminatory attitudes can easily lead those who discriminate to commit horrific acts of inhumanity, as can be seen in the Nazi massacre of Jews and many other examples. Upon further reflection, the attitude adopted by those who discriminate vis-à-vis the victim is none other than ‘they are not human beings,’ or ‘there is no need to treat them as people.’ When this attitude is manifested externally through discriminatory conduct, the victim’s dignity as a human being is grievously wounded.”

    Judgment for the plaintiff. Yep, just $12,000, but there weren’t any gaijin complaining about the money when this baby came down. PRICELESS.

    As far as a similar judgment in Korea you could expect about the same amount under the code sections I mentioned in my earlier post. (307 Defamation – max 10 mil; 308 Defamation in Print – max 15 mil; 309 Public Insult – max 2 mil.)

    “Realistically, would lawyers have taken on this case?”

    Cynicism (well, at least strong skepticism) certainly has its place in Korea as it does anywhere else when it comes to seeking justice. But don’t count out Korean lawyers, judges and Korean citizens just because they’re Korean, there are plenty who care deeply about justice and human rights. (But you already knew that, as do the vast majority of the posters here and non-citizens calling Korea “home”.) Give the Koreans the right case and with enough interest and backing from the non-citizen community, I believe they’ll do the right thing. We’re not the only ones who hate being discriminated against. You should read the stuff submitted to international organizations by the ROK and see how angry they get when Korean non-citizens in Japan get the shaft. These cites are pure gold when the non-citizens here finally grow a pair and start asking that their rights are similarly respected.

    Your comment about the “costs” of a lawsuit (as in ‘are they just gonna toss me in some detention center somewhere and drain my bank account if I try anything like this?’) also highlights the hesitancy and trepidation felt by non-citizens when even contemplating legal action to assert their rights in the ROK. But we aren’t the only ones to be concerned about this.

    The COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION in its 17 AUG 2007 reply to Korea “note[d] with concern that existing criminal law provisions that may be used to punish acts of racial discrimination, such as articles 307 and 309 concerning defamation or article 311 on libel, have never been invoked in national courts. The Committee also notes that although the Convention forms part of the domestic law and is directly applicable in the courts of the State party [BKW note - see again Korean Constitution Art. 6(1)], there are no court decisions which contain references to, or confirm the direct applicability of, its provisions. (Articles 6 and 7). The Committee reminds the State party that the absence of complaints may be an indication of the absence of relevant specific legislation, of a lack of awareness on the availability of legal remedies, or of insufficient will on the part of the authorities to prosecute. In this regard, the Committee recommends that the State party provide specific training for those working within the criminal justice system, including police officers, lawyers, prosecutors and judges on the mechanisms and procedures provided for in national legislation in the field of racism and discrimination. The Committee further recommends that the State party organise information campaigns and education programmes on the Convention and its provisions.” (See CERD/C/MKD/CO/7).

    And isn’t that certainly the case, as we can see from this very blog? There is a “a lack of awareness on the availability of legal remedies” and maybe even “insufficient will on the part of the authorities to prosecute” (although I’m a bit more optimist than the Committee on this score).

    “Would the NHRCK be the correct agency with which to lodge a complaint?”

    Yeah, I’d say so. The NHRCK is where I’d go. I mean you could go to the Ministry of Justice’s Human Rights Bureau, but they represent the State after all. I’m not saying they wouldn’t give you a fair shake . . . (cough, cough). But the NHRCK is an independent organization. As the ROK itself explains “[i]ndependent of [any agencies or programs set up] on the part of the Government, [non-citizens] who have suffered discrimination may file complaints with the National Human Rights Commission of Korea pursuant to Article 30 of the National Human Rights Commission Act.” (See ROK’s submission of its Art. 40 report to the Human Rights Committee under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights CCPR/C/KOR/CO/3/Add.1, 29 FEB 2008).

    “Does a slanderous statement represent a violation or infringement of human rights?”

    You bet your ass it does if it falls with in the purview of the CERD or other relevant national legislation. (more on this below) “Slander” is an oral statement, that was the issue in the Bortz case (allow the jewelry store also had a printed sign saying “no foreigners” as well). But I think what got us going was a “libel” issue, which requires some kind of fixed medium (e.g. printed words, a recorded broadcast, a sign, a photo, the fricking Bubble-Girls album cover! Ok, I’m stretching with the Bubble-Girls but that’s a case I’d love to see go the distance.) But the broad-brush category would be defamation. That’s what the Korean code sections contemplate.

    But don’t take my word for it, here’s a statement submitted by the ROK in it’s 18 AUG 2006 report to the CERD committee:

    “[A]n act of racial discrimination can be punished under the present Penal Code, pursuant to articles 307 and 309, which concern defamation and defamation by publication, respectively, and article 311, which deals with libel.” (See CERD/C/KOR/14)

    Pohang – thanks for the kind words. Not sure if I agree with you though, I’ve seen some pretty damn good posts here. And as for “what it is I do” – I’m a US lawyer and I focus on international law issues here. I’m not much of a blogger or even much of a poster but felt morally duty bound under the recommendations of the CERD Committee to help the good Republic of Korea (where I call home) “organise information campaigns and education programmes on the Convention and its provisions.” I know they have their hands full and appreciate the help. ^^

    대한민국 만새!

  • http://www.jdlink.co.kr Linkd

    2 things:

    First, the economic thing: E2′s make about 2.5 mil per month legally. The E2′s I know actually make more like double that, and they also enjoy around 3-4 months holiday per year, usually spent travelling in SE Asia. They pay virtually no taxes. With the bulk of their income being under the table, there is every incentive to keep a low profile. It is not until the combined cost and inconvenience of complying with demeaning regulatory hassles starts to exceed the value of their illicit earnings that it would make financial sense to them to raise a fuss. And if the end result of the fuss were a return to just 2.5 million in legal income, well, what the hell are they fighting for, anyway? Cuz Korea ain’t worth fighting for at that price.

    Second, the first-world vanity thing. We white folks from the West can only think of poor colored people as being the victims of human rights abuse. Sure, we will scrap over a broken contract, a personal insult or a business negotiation. But that phrase ‘violated my human rights’ or ‘victim of a human rights violation’ – that’s a tough one to accept, while still maintaining one’s status as a white American/Canadian/Brit/Aussie. It sounds so helpless and weak. If these criminal background checks and AIDS tests could be spun as an unfair business practice rather than a human rights issue, they might get better traction.

  • user-81

    BKW wrote:
    The all too complacent white English teacher group just seem to be content to have their names dragged through the mud. Take the Ansan English Camp incident in May 2006 where a Korean teacher attempted to sexually assault middle school girls and the Korean Teachers and Educational Workers Union blamed it on “unchecked native speakers [with] free attitudes about sex [and] lack of responsibility.” No native speakers even involved in the incident. Any lawsuits, even though there were several slam-dunk claims for defamation (Korean Criminal Code Art. 307, 308)? Nope. Any complaints to the NHRCK? Nope. Lots of bitching on the blogs, though.

    Your detailed answer to gbnhj was interesting but I have one concern: don’t you need the actual aggrieved party to file the suit? Can some unrelated foreigner file a defamation lawsuit against the KTEWU over what happened in Ansan when there was no way that they could be one of the “unchecked native speakers [with] free attitudes about sex [and] lack of responsibility” who allegedly were at Ansan? Maybe I need to see the quote to see that they were describing ALL native [English] speakers in Korea as being like that.

    What would be your defamation lawsuit over the Bubble Girls? Are you the fat black ajumma they were mocking?

    There are several examples of government officials just coming right out and saying that the majority of whitey English teachers are abusing Korean women and forcing them to do drugs with them.

    What exactly was said? Was it said about all English teachers?

  • user-81

    For those of you who think criminal background checks and health checks are so “unfair” and “demeaning”: is there any way they could be required that you’d find acceptable? Like having the tests required of ALL teachers not just E2?

    I don’t see anything wrong with background checks for people working with kids but I think it should be everyone and I don’t think people should have to leave the country for it each year (if that really is what is required). So what would be acceptable?

  • BKW

    @ 73

    See quotation by 서울지방경찰청 (Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency) in “외국인 영어강사에게 한국은 ‘타락천국’” (Korea is a ‘Perverted Paradise’ for Foreign English Teachers)available at http://news.naver.com/hotissue/ranking_read.php?section_id=102&ranking_type=popular_day&office_id=079&article_id=0000185857&date=20070905&seq=1

    And, yeah I’m the fat black ajumma. You got a problem with that?

  • Pohang

    @User-81.
    Dude, you should get at least partially informed before you post. Repeated criminal background checks are not required. It’s a one time thing. Leaving the country is necessary if you have to change or renew you r visa, as, for example, when your place of employment changes. If your place of employment doesn’t change, you don’t need to do a ‘visa run.’ I could post the E-2 regs for you if you want, though that would be a bit tiresome.

    @BKW
    I figured you were in law, and my hunch was right. Although, to be fair, given the style of your posts it wasn’t such a great mental leap.

    민주주의여 만세…..타는 목마름으로 ^^

  • user-81

    Pohang wrote:
    @User-81.
    Dude, you should get at least partially informed before you post. Repeated criminal background checks are not required. It’s a one time thing.

    Dude, you should at least read what other people wrote before you jump on me. Bumfromkorea (#66) was sounding like leaving to get a criminal background check was an annual thing:

    Do you seriously think that permanent residents would accept being made to travel abroad every year to get a criminal background check?

    All I was doing was asking if that was right since it was different from what I had heard.

  • user-81

    BKW:
    See quotation by 서울지방경찰청 (Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency) in “외국인 영어강사에게 한국은 ‘타락천국’” (Korea is a ‘Perverted Paradise’ for Foreign English Teachers)available at http://news.naver.com/hotissue…..&seq=1

    It’s too early in the morning for me to read through the whole article since my Korean is far from perfect. You said “There are several examples of government officials just coming right out and saying that the majority of whitey English teachers are abusing Korean women and forcing them to do drugs with them.”

    This looks like it’s some person in the police station connected to the case saying foreigners see Korea as a land of opportunity and as a paradise for depravity.

    So as a foreigner (it doesn’t say “whitey”) do you sue the person connected, the police station, the entire government? Do you sue the newspaper that was probably taking liberty with the quotes? I’m asking seriously because if we sue someone every time someone says something we don’t like about a group, I’d quite my day job and go to law school. Here in the United States people on TV and radio say all kinds of stupid things about immigrants and foreign-born people or women or men or minorities or white people (excuse me, “whitey”). There needs to be some focus to your outrage if you’re going to take it to a lawsuit.

    A well-publicized boycott or a national group that publicly targets the paper and the person in the police station might work if you have a person working with you who knows how to work the media.

    And, yeah I’m the fat black ajumma. You got a problem with that?

    Not at all. I wish there were like you in Korea.

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