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E- 2 visas to need medical and criminal checks
« on: November 07, 2007, 07:47:16 pm »
    
   
 
     E-2s to need medical, criminal checks    
 
The application process for an E-2 teaching visa will be tightened up in December.
According to a Ministry of Justice press release, foreigners who apply for teaching visas will have to submit a criminal background check and a medical check, and must undergo an interview at the closest Korean consulate to their home town. Visa runs to Japan will also be scrapped. Teachers must now receive and renew visas in their home country.
The exact date of implementation has not yet been decided, an official at the Ministry of Justice said. The changed regulations will be implemented sometime in December but we have not yet set an exact date, as the ministry is still in the process of finalizing the details.
Hagwon and other employers of foreign teachers will be informed as soon as the details have been finalized, he told The Korea Herald.
The tightened controls come in the wake of news that a pedophile suspect worked in Korea on several occasions, along with the avalanche of fake-diploma scandals throughout Korean society. The suspect has not yet been convicted, and there is no public link to any offences in Korea.
We have been drawing up the new regulations for some time but the recent case of Christopher Paul Neil could be said to have brought the issue to the surface, said the official.
Drug use and other criminal activities carried out by foreign English teachers have been a social issue for some time, and have built up to dangerous levels in recent years. That is why we are implementing changes now.
The new regulations will only affect foreigners holding E-2 visas, and those seeking an E-2 visa.
We do not plan to strengthen regulations concerning all foreign nationals in Korea, as that would be unnecessary, the ministry official added. We are focusing on teachers because they come in close contact with children, and we have a duty to protect children from unnecessary dangers.
Concern is mounting among current teachers, not about the validity of the new rules, but about the messy implementation, as one teacher described it. They say information from the government has been vague and unclear. Potential teachers are also put off by the uncertainty of the new regulations, which some important government organizations dont even seem to be aware of.
The Korea Herald contacted Government for Foreigners, a Korean government organization which aims to provide comprehensive information on entry regulations. When asked if there were changes to the regulations being planned for December, the help desk clerks answer was a vague probably.
He was unsure of when they would be implemented. How are we supposed to know, he asked the reporter. The clerk then said that he is aware of new regulations, but could not comment on them, saying We will have to wait and see.
There are concerns about the logistics of the consulate interview part of the plan. Its about time they had criminal record checks, and the health check is a good idea, says Tricia Elliot, a teacher at a private institute in Seoul. But this interview at the consulate is a bit overboard because it cuts out a lot of people from smaller areas of large countries.
A lot of the Canadians who work as teachers are from the East coast, and the nearest consulate is in Montreal, she explained. Thats really far away, and impossible for most people to get to on short notice for an interview that doesnt guarantee a job.
English teachers have had trouble finding information about the changes. Many have been told by their local immigration branch that there were no changes, or that the office was unaware of them. This is in spite of a press release which came out last week.
If implemented in December, the move would leave schools struggling to fill vacancies as applicants spend months waiting for police checks and arranging medicals and travel to embassies. It would also discourage hagwon from getting rid of underperforming teachers.
While no one doubts hagwon would boot abusive teachers, those coming in hung over, unprepared and unenthusiastic could be more of a problem. Schools already have a tough time shifting them because their replacement is costly, difficult and time consuming.
Some suspect the extra time and expense of visa application will deter legitimate teachers. I predict a mass exodus of legitimate, qualified, native-speaking ESL Teachers. They will be replaced mostly by highly transient and unskilled backpackers who will work illegally on tourist visas at premium wages, said one teacher, asking not to be named.
Mindful of this, the ministry also intends to increase the severity of punishments for those hagwon employing illegal teachers.
But that teacher remains unconvinced. Youve got to really want to work in Korea to go through all that mess, he says. Those few teachers who are compliant with these new visa regulations will almost certainly be demanding extraordinarily high wages.

By Paul Kerry

(paulkerry@heraldm.com) >:(


Re: E- 2 visas to need medical and criminal checks
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2007, 12:34:11 pm »
HAHAHAHAHA 
I rather enjoyed reading this arguement because for once you all were just open and honest about it instead of just benig condescending back and forth...If I wanted that, I'd turn on Desperate Housewives.  This is much more exciting :)

Anyway!
Actually, I agree with Smee and Samuel for the sheer reason of.... if you ever told someone in Canada that if racism bothered them; that it was THEIR CHOICE to come to Canada; to be there, in the racism (which there are lows against)...you'd be beaten and shot by Liberals.  There's no way you'd tell a Black person to "go back to their own country, if they don't like it", so why would you say it to foreigners in Korea? 

Korea is SO racist, and I enjoy calling Koreans on it and starting a big arguement.  Nothing will ever change if no one says anything about it.  And if you're not willing to be the change, why would you expect anyone else to do it, or for things to ever get better?

For Smee and Samuel...  You know Canada actually keeps tabs on you if you're tested for HIV.  So, although jobs may not request such information, if you have already been tested on your own (which any smart sexually active person would do once in a while), and HAVE it, your employer can find out.  It's really not THAT far off what Korea is asking...and I do think it's a good idea b/c I bet a lot of sick Americans (where there is no healthcare system) would love to come here for cheep drugs to accompany their cushy job :) 

Okay, I'm done.
But I'm surious, Smee....What got pulled of yours?


Re: E- 2 visas to need medical and criminal checks
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2007, 01:03:03 pm »
Good points Alex.

However I would like it noted that I'm not telling people not to be bothered by discrimination (or denying that it's not prevalent in Korea) I am just questioning the way that people respond (using this medium).

If it really bothers you, will you protest about it??? and how will you do that? Will you picket? Will you write diatribes on the faceless mass that is the internet on a forum which for the large part only read by foreign esl teachers? Or will you go home and reflect on why you don't want to live in an environment that discrimates against people for varying reasons? (and perhaps look a little closer at your own environment and no doubt see many imperfections). 

Talking and having good relations with thoughtful Korean people is a much more effective way to ensure change occurs in this country.

In addition, I am of the opinion that if ESL teachers did NOT want to teach in Korea (and a drop in numbers would identify this) it would actually be a form of protest which would be noted and perhaps paid attention too.


Re: E- 2 visas to need medical and criminal checks
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2007, 01:36:42 pm »
Didn't I just say I talk to Koreans about it?


Re: E- 2 visas to need medical and criminal checks
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2007, 01:38:06 pm »
wtf?  What happened to those other comments from Smee and Samuel.  I think it's pretty militaristic and dictatorshiply for them to be cencored just because some Koreans might read them and disagree with the opinions put forward....


  • Samuel
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Re: E- 2 visas to need medical and criminal checks
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2007, 01:46:07 pm »

 This forum should be a vehicle where we can discuss matters related to Korea. Such a discussion might lead to our acting to change the system, but perhaps it doesn't. The point is that teachers need a forum where they can feel free to discuss their opinions about the system, and perhaps try to find a way to address the issue if they want.
It is impossible to change a system until people realise they are not alone. When people voice their concerns about a situation they open up the opportunity to change that system, but without the freedom to voice concerns, or complaints as some people call them, there can exist no beginning for change. I use the example of the ESL teachers for Berlitz. After similar discussions about their work situation, the employes at Berlitz decided to become the first unionized ESL company in Korea. The point is that such a change would never have happened if they did not have a way to post their opinions about their company. Rather than being just a place where people complain, a forum like this one can be a useful vehicle for change. It is a beginning.
Man erkennt einen Philosophen daran, daß er drei glänzenden und lauten Dingen aus dem Wege geht: dem Ruhme, den Fürsten und den Frauen - womit nicht gesagt ist, daß sie nicht zu ihm kämen.

Nietzsche


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Re: E- 2 visas to need medical and criminal checks
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2007, 01:47:34 pm »
Virginia deleted them
Man erkennt einen Philosophen daran, daß er drei glänzenden und lauten Dingen aus dem Wege geht: dem Ruhme, den Fürsten und den Frauen - womit nicht gesagt ist, daß sie nicht zu ihm kämen.

Nietzsche


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Re: E- 2 visas to need medical and criminal checks
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2007, 01:49:12 pm »
I don't think capebretonbarbarian envisioned such a popular thread, haha.  

Anyway, I'm not sure about the timeline of this thread.  After I came back from lunch Virginia had pulled all the messages, and judging from the "stats" page I guess there were about 6 in those 20 minutes.  I don't know exactly what was posted after my second message, so I don't know exactly what you're refering to, Alex.  The timeline here looks screwed up, as I guess there are some older messages mixed in with the new ones?  I dunno.  I thought my first post was relevant and on topic, and I thought my second one was . . . somewhat tame.  It wasn't that some Koreans might read them, but that some of the users here were bothered by them.  

Well, to tie into what Nicola just (?) said, the truth is we can't do anything alone.  One person bitching on a website won't do anything.  Am I going to picket the education office?  No.  Will I send threatening letters that will never get read?  Probably not.  But I think it's important to at least talk about how all these new restrictions are effecting us, and be a little self-aware, rather than just going with the flow.  There's more too it than either picketing or acquiescing.  

Anyway, I guess I'll just let this thread die.  No sense in getting too passionate or too well-researched, because the Mokpo Friendship Society will clean house again.  I ought to be working, anyway.  

edit:
Quote
But I'm surious, Smee....What got pulled of yours?

There was a thread about a blog entry entitled "50 things not to do in Canada," or something.  From a Korean blog sort of highlighting some cultural differences (the original post is still in "current events.")  I guess it got a little out of hand, so it was locked and the replies pulled.  Okay, now it's really time to get back to work.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2007, 01:58:08 pm by Smee »
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Re: E- 2 visas to need medical and criminal checks
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2007, 02:02:46 pm »
For Smee and Samuel...  You know Canada actually keeps tabs on you if you're tested for HIV.  So, although jobs may not request such information, if you have already been tested on your own (which any smart sexually active person would do once in a while), and HAVE it, your employer can find out. 
It's really not THAT far off what Korea is asking...and I do think it's a good idea b/c I bet a lot of sick Americans (where there is no healthcare system) would love to come here for cheep drugs to accompany their cushy job :) 

I am not sure about that one Alex. Yes, the government keeps tabs on us if we are infected, but the information cannot, I believe, just be released to anyone. There is the Privacy Act in Canada.
People with AIDS, even in a school setting, cannot be fired or discriminated against by a school.

Just to remind everyone, since the posted was deleted, my main issue was about AIDS and drug testing across the board. If foreigners get tested, then all people should get tested. It's all or none.
Man erkennt einen Philosophen daran, daß er drei glänzenden und lauten Dingen aus dem Wege geht: dem Ruhme, den Fürsten und den Frauen - womit nicht gesagt ist, daß sie nicht zu ihm kämen.

Nietzsche