Korea takes aim at illegal immigration [2016/04/19 11:34]

The South Korean government on Monday laid out a plan to reduce the rate of illegally residing migrants to below 10 percent by 2018 by tightening prescreening. In the meeting on policies for foreigners chaired by Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, the government vowed to crack down on foreigners staying in Korea without legitimate visa and to take measures to help immigrants integrate into society more smoothly.

As part of the efforts, the government is set to screen foreign nationals before airliners issue boarding passes, and step up border controls for passengers transferring at airports or entering Korea on non-visa schemes.

“As international terror threats intensified following the attack in Brussels, we plan to set the public safety as our top priority by tightening border controls and managing illegal migrants,” Hwang said in the meeting at Seoul Government Complex.

“The increase in the number of immigrants can be positive in that it can sharpen the nation`s competitive edge and add diversity,” he said. “But it also heightens worries over illegal migrants and crimes committed by foreigner.”

The country has been on the alert after two Chinese nationals and a Vietnamese transfer passenger sneaked into the country without being noticed by immigration officials or airport security guards.

Currently, there are 1.9 million migrants in Korea, accounting for 3.7 percent of the entire population. The Justice Ministry claimed that 11.3 percent of the total foreign population was unregistered.

The government will also revise the Employment Permit System to prevent migrant workers from illegally staying in the country after their contracts expire. Under the EPS, Korea selectively receives migrant workers from countries in Southeast Asia and Central Asia who fill posts in the labor-intensive industry.

The revised EPS will give more authority to labor ministry officials to report unregistered migrants. It will also ramp up screening of foreign applicants before issuing visas and accept temporary workers who can work in the country for up to 90 days in the agricultural sector.

The rate of “illegal” foreigners residing in Korea by country will be taken into account by when the government sets quotas for new incoming workers under the EPS.

The government also plans to help immigrants better integrate into the society by expanding services that target foreigners and raise awareness of cultural diversity, it said. It will offer free legal counselling in various languages for migrant workers and increase the number of multi-cultural schools.

For the overall plan to manage the foreign population, the government assigned 67.76 billion won -- a 3.1 percent decrease from previously -- for 1,227 projects.
출처: 헤럴드미디어 영자신문 코리아헤럴드 (www.koreaherald.com)