According to the Ministry of Justice press release, foreigners applying for teaching visa will have to go through a long process where they will have to submit a criminal background check, a medical check and well as they will have to undergo an interview with the closest Korean consultant in their home town. Teachers will have to receive and renew their visas from their home town itself according to the new rule. More over the visa runs to Japan will be scrapped.
Nothing has been commented about the exact date of implementation of the plan. According to an official, at the Ministry of Justice “”The changed regulations will be implemented sometime in the month of December but the exact date has not been fixed as the ministry is still on the process of finalizing the details.”
“Hagwon and other employers of the foreign teachers will be informed as soon as the details have been finalized,” the official informed The Korea Herald.
A tightened control came into being with the wake of the news that said that a pedophile suspect worked in Korea on several occasions, and a number of fake diploma scandals occurred throughout the Korean society. The suspect has still not been convicted and more over there are no public link to any offences happening out in the Korean society.
The plans for the formation of such a regulation has been happening for quite some time but the issue came to the limelight with much effect with the recent case of Christopher Paul Neil as was said by the official.
Criminal activities including the use of Drugs by foreign English teachers has been a vital social issue and this has been built to dangerous levels in recent years. This could be a major cause for implementing of the current plan. The ministry officials added that they have no plans of strengthening the regulations concerning all the foreign nationals in Korea as it was unnecessary. They are mainly focusing on the foreigners holding E2 visas, and those seeking an E2 visa. The teachers are focused more as they are the ones who come in close contact with the innocent children and it is the duty off the Ministry to guarantee that the children are protected form unnecessary danger.
Discussions are happening among current teachers not about the validity of new rules but about the messy implementations. Teachers find the rules to be vague and unclear. The potential teachers are also put off by the uncertainty of the rules which some of the important government organizations seem to be unaware of.
The vague and unclear rules made the Koran Herald contact the Government for information regarding the Foreigners visa . When contacted to ask regarding the changes for the regulation planned for December the answer received from the help desk clerk’s were also too vague. He too was quite uncertain as to when the new rule would be implemented. Here the question arises as to “How are the people supposed to know of the new regulations without the Ministry publicizing their thoughts”. When the question was asked to the clerk he replied saying that he was aware of the changes but could not make a comment on them, they will have to wait and watch the changes.
They have been a lot of comments by teachers with regard to the newly constructed plan. According to Tricia Elliot, a teacher at a private institute in Seoul, the idea of having a check on the criminal records as well as the health check is a wonderful idea but she does not agree with the interview being conducted at the closest
Korean consulate as there arises a possibility of cutting off people from smaller areas of larger countries. In her view point the majority of teachers are from the East coast and their nearest consulate would be Montreal. This makes them too far a place to reach on short notice, for the interview where the job too is not guaranteed.
English teachers have been undergoing trouble to get information’s as to the new plan. Many have been told by their local immigration branch that there were no changes, or that the office was unaware of them. All this is in spite of a press release which came out last week.
More over if the plan is implemented from December the schools would have to face a serious problem of filling up vacancies as the applicants need to spend a huge amount of time performing the formalities. This would in a way, discourage hagwon from getting rid of underperforming teachers. Nobody doubts that hagwon would boot abusive teachers but it is always better to take preventive measures as the replacement of teachers would be costly difficult as well as time consuming.
Some people suspect that the extra time and expense for the visa application has a possibility to deter legitimate teachers. “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 who wished not to be named. Keeping all this in mind the Ministry intents to increase the severity of punishments for those hagwon employing illegal teachers. People who really want to work in Korea will be the ones who are ready for such a deal and once they are through the formalities they are sure to demand an extraordinarily high wage.