The Ministry of Government Legislation said Wednesday that it has launched an English-language Web site to provide foreign investors, workers, students and married immigrants here with essential legal information.
Named ``Easy-to-Find Legal Information for Everyday Life,'' the site was established to help foreigners with little or no understanding of the Korean language.
The English site offers details on the three most sought-after areas where legal information is key ― foreign investment, foreign workers' employment and married immigrants.
The ministry is to upgrade the service to diversity its information sources.
The service is available at http://oneclick.moleg.go.kr.
I clicked on the link and it actually goes to the KOREAN language web page.
The link to the English page is here.
Now the only challenge is putting into PRACTICE what is written on paper . . .
The link for foreign employment info is here.
I just skimmed the site for about 30 minutes glancing at different things on it. I didn't take a lot of time to closely examine the content in terms of whether or not it is relevant to E2 Visa foreign English teachers . . . I just skimmed over what I thought looked interesting and then commented on it so please don't think that the content here has been carefully analyzed and vetted over a long period of time by an 'expert' (nope, not me) . . . I'm just killing time on New Year's day surfing the Net and tossing out some initial impressions and reactions to what I saw on the site.
I found this interesting,
Hiring foreigners who do not have the appropriate visa status is subject to a sentence of up to three years of imprisonment or a fine of up to twenty million won, under subparagraph 5 of Article 94 of the 「Immigration Control Act」.
It is unlawful to hire, or as a form of business, recommend and arrange for hiring of foreigners who do not have the appropriate visa status and doing so is a punishable offence by up to three years of imprisonment or a fine of up to 20 million won. (「Immigration Control Act」 Article 94 subparagraphs 5-2 and 6)
The "Immigration Control Act" is cited often through the parts I was reading . . . I'll have to look for that piece of work some other time and link to it.
Short-term Employment (C-4), Professorship (E-1), Foreign Language Teaching (E-2), Research (E-3), Technology Transfer (E-4), Professional Employment (E-5), Arts/Entertainment (E-6), Specially Designated Activities (E-7), Non-professional Employment (E-9), Vessel Crew (E-10), Working Holiday (H-1) or Working Visit (H-2)
- Foreign workers corresponding to any of the above categories of visa status may not work in areas other than as designated (Article 18.(2)「Immigration Control Act」).
※ Violation of the above is a punishable offense (up to 1 year of imprisonment or a fine of up to 10 million won pursuant to subparagraph 5 of Article 95 of the 「Immigration Control Act」).
- Foreign workers intending to change their workplace within the scope allowed by the visa, must obtain a permit from the Minister of Justice in advance (Heads of Immigration Office or Branch in cases where delegated so by the Minister of Justice)(「Immigration Control Act」 Article 21.(1)).
※ Violation of this is subject to a sentence of up to 1 year of imprisonment or a fine of up to 10 million won (「Immigration Control Act」 Subparagraph 5 of Article 95).
- With the exception of providing job reference under another law, no one is allowed to hire or make a job reference to any one who did not obtain the permission to change the workplace, among other permissions (「Immigration Control Act」 Article 21.(1))(「Immigration Control Act」Article 21.(2)).
※ A foreign worker who did not obtain the proper permit for change of workplace is subject to a sentence of up to 3 years of imprisonment or a fine of up to 20 million won (「Immigration Control Act」 subparagraph 6-2 of Article 94) and any one who hires such a foreigner is subject to a sentence of up to 1 year of imprisonment or a fine of up to 10 million won (「Immigration Control Act」 subparagraph 6-2 of Article 95).
I wonder if any hogwan owners and directors have actually been prosecuted to the degree cited above?
I found this interesting too,
However, foreigners corresponding to the above table subparagraph (12) [Overseas Koreans (F-4)] are not permitted to engage in any of the following activities. Not being restricted by the above does not waive any obligation to obtain specific job licenses or meet other qualifications defined for each area (「Enforcement Decree of the Immigration Control Act」 Article 23.(3)).
3. Other activities deemed to require restriction for sake of maintaining order in the labor market or other public interest.
There is a whole list of other items described that E2 Visa holders cannot do, but it kills me that #3 is added. It is essentially a 'carte blanche' clause saying 'anything we don't like that you do is open to prosecution.'
I always like to look at how legal language is articulated when the everyday word is NOT used, like here for example.
Those invited by Korean citizens who are closer than 3rd cousins by consanguinity or 1st cousins by affinity and who have a residential address in the Republic of Korea;
- Relationship by blood or by a common ancestor.
- A close affinity or connection.
B. Types of Activities Permitted1) Visit, temporary co-residence with relatives, tourism, medical treatment, field trip, friendship tournaments, non-profit organizations’ culture and arts activities, attending meetings, collecting academic data, market survey, business communication, contract signing, and any other business or commercial activities under such purpose
I'm DYING to know what a "friendship tournament" is . . . lol.
And perhaps one of the most relevant entries on the site,
3.Foreign Language Instructor (E-2)
Foreigners intending to teach in a foreign language school or educational institute not lower than primary school, qualified under the criteria determined by the Minister of Justice.
※ What is the qualification as determined by the Minister of Justice?
· Persons intending to teach a foreign language in a language institute or in a primary school or higher, need to hold at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent academic background after graduation from college or higher level institute or its equivalent as a person of a country where such language is used as a mother tongue.
· Assistant teachers (persons solicited or selected by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology or education superintendents in cities and provinces, who intend to work in a primary, junior high or senior high school) need to hold at least a junior college degree; or have completed at least two years of college education after graduation; or have received at least 10 years of formal education in the language concerned and have completed two years of college education in Korea or graduated from a junior college in Korea.
I'm still working on a post that I will put up on the Korean English online 'news' discourse about 'qualified' and 'unqualified' foreign native teachers. The Korea Times is one of the worst offenders in this area . . . anyways, my point here is that it is the policy makers who set the standards for applicants who want to teach here in Korea--not the foreign native teachers, oops, I meant "assistant teachers" . . . lol, sigh.
And this is mentioned again,
A foreign worker who did not obtain the proper permit for change of workplace is subject to a sentence of up to 3 years of imprisonment or a fine of up to 20 million won (「Immigration Control Act」 subparagraph 6-2 of Article 94) and any one who hires such a foreigner is subject to a sentence of up to 1 year of imprisonment or a fine of up to 10 million won (「Immigration Control Act」 subparagraph 6-2 of Article 95).
Some of the stuff in the "Protection under labor related acts and subordinate statutes" is very amusing and I wonder where it came from because the everyday realities of social rank and power dynamics in Korea seem to be completely disconnected from the policy language here that assumes there is a cultural environment in which employers and employees can even have a negotiation about something work related . . . I mean, some negotiation takes place, but I think it's safe to say it's generally not on EQUAL footing . . .
In a culture where Confucian-based ideas of power dynamics and a system of social ranks with very clear and strict definitions of who always gives the orders and who always says yes and follows the orders I'm really confused as to how this kind of language can even exist on paper (or the Net in this case).
Principle of equality in employer-employee relation
- Work condition must be determined between the workers and employers on an equal footing based on free will.(「Labor Standards Act」 Article 4).
Principle of equal treatment of workers
- An employer may not discriminate against his (her) workers in determining their working conditions on grounds of gender, nationality, religion or social origin.(「Labor Standards Act」 Article 6).
Violation of this is subject to a sentence of a fine of up to 5 million won (「Labor Standards Act」subparagraph 1 of Article 114).
I'm really curious about this part that talks about 'annual paid leave'
Employer must grant 15 days of paid leave to workers who attended at least 80% of the work period for at least one year (「Labor Standards Act」Article 60.(1)). The period of days off work due to the workers’ injury or disease caused on the job, pre- and post-natal leaves, leaves for miscarriage or stillbirth shall be deemed as days attended (「Labor Standards Act」 Article 60.(6)).
Does this mean that hogwan teachers are supposed to be given 15 paid vacation days a year??? I wonder . . .
Restriction on dismissal
- The employer may not dismiss workers without justifiable cause (「Labor Standards Act」 Article 23.(1)).
※ What are dismissals based on justifiable cause?
I think a lot of the content about dismissal has more to do with factory and manual labor workers than it does in relation to foreign English teachers.
I noticed a search window on the site and typed in "health check," "medical check," and "criminal background check" and got nothing in terms of results related to foreign English teachers and the E2 Visa process . . . .
Anyways, I guess the website is a STEP in the right direction.