Hyunmo Choi (Director of the Center for Migrant Workers’ Human Rights in Korea)
A few days ago, a migrant worker from Pakistan asked for help. He has been living in Korea for 8 years, and he has been dating a Korean woman for about two years and has recently married her. Since coming to Korea in his mid-20s, he has endured many difficulties while working at a small manufacturing company, dreaming of a better life. He said that his wife is the greatest gift and source of happiness in his life so far. Although Korean society’s perception of marriage with a foreigner has changed a lot, since the openness only applies to whites from North America or Europe, I thought that it would not have been an easy decision for the couple to marry. When asked about his reaction, he just smiled bitterly and didn’t say anything.
Thinking he was asking something, he was joking around, and he pulled out a few papers from his pocket. They were marriage certificates in Korean and English. Here’s the story he told me when he asked for help. He and his wife, who got married a few months ago, went to the immigration office after registering their marriage. My wife, who is in her late 20s, was preparing for the civil service exam, so she knew about the legal process in her own way, and after checking the documents required for international marriage through the relevant organizations, I went to apply for my husband’s status of residence with well-prepared documents. it was In fact, the husband and wife were a little nervous because the husband’s status of stay had not been registered for the past 5 years, and they knew that they had to pay a penalty for the period of undocumented sojourn. They said they were preparing to pay the fine, thinking that they should be punished for breaking the law. However, at the immigration office, the couple heard only incomprehensible words and could not even file documents. What I heard from the immigration office staff was that if there were no children between the two of them, they would not be able to obtain a status of stay in Korea, and that her husband would have to return to Pakistan and obtain a visa there to enter Korea.
Even though these couples are in unregistered sojourn status, foreigners who marry a Korean can obtain the status of residence as a Korean spouse in Korea by paying a fine, and in fact, I know that they have done so until recently, but they cannot even apply if they do not have children. He said he didn’t know what to do. If a foreigner (from Southeast Asia or Southwest Asia) who has been consulting on international marriage for several years and has undocumented sojourn experience leaves the country and applies for a visa and re-enters the country, the life separation can be as short as 6 months to as long as 1 year and 6 months Those who are afraid of losing the little happiness they have been working hard for because they know that they have to endure and that their spouses abroad and their spouses in Korea will suffer from all kinds of complicated and slow procedures during that time. I could understand the couple’s feelings.
After listening to the story of the couple and checking them, it was found that if there is any doubt about the authenticity of the marriage, such as the marriage of an undocumented foreigner or the age difference between spouses due to the recent change in the internal work guidelines of the Immigration and Foreign Policy Headquarters of the Ministry of Justice, the status of stay in Korea It is strictly restricted, and applications for sojourn status in Korea are accepted only when it is recognized that marriage is certain, such as the existence of a biological child. It is said that the purpose is to prevent the illegality of acquiring the status of residence through fake marriage in advance.
amazing idea. At this rate, even if an undocumented foreigner is married to a Korean, he cannot have a legal and stable marriage as long as he does not have children, and if he is caught by the crackdown, he will be forcibly expelled and forced to part with his beloved family. What is the choice of a couple who cannot bear this kind of pain? Do I need to have a baby a day early to stay legally? What about couples who don’t want children? What should a couple do if they want to have children but cannot have them for one reason or another? Has the government introduced a new birth-encouraging policy in preparation for the era of ultra-low fertility?
Immigration management practices, which have been improved little by little, are taking a step back. In a nutshell, after considering a married couple as a quasi-criminal under the pretext of establishing an order for foreigners to stay, they test whether they can handle it with deep love by forcing an unwanted life separation and painful marriage procedure. is to admit In the face of administrative convenience of pre-blocking the possibility of illegality, even the love between a couple is only a subject of evaluation.
Although ‘multicultural families’ or ‘multicultural families’ have been widely advertised recently, the government’s multicultural policy, which has been criticized for its limitations and unilateral policy implementation, is the only support target for Koreans. It refers to a family formed through marriage between a foreigner and a foreigner. The government’s multicultural policy aims to achieve social integration into a multicultural society by supporting these ‘multicultural families’ to lead a stable life in Korea. However, the love of those who are labeled as so-called ‘illegal stay’ is not easily allowed, let alone embrace them into a multicultural society, and even the simple desire to be together.
This is a ‘multicultural society where we live together’. This is the reality of Korea.