Monday, January 5, 2009

A Canadian renewing his E2 Visa -- 2nd confirmation that I don't have to get a medical check and VSS criminal background check

I'm sitting here waiting for the university secretary to call me back after she calls the immigration office in Chuncheon. She's going to ask them to re-confirm this 'new' policy for the Chuncheon area that if I'm renewing my E2 Visa with the SAME employer that I do NOT have to get a VSS criminal background check from Canada, and also do NOT have to get a medical check . . .

I wonder about the medical check part. I think there may be some kind of confusion about that in the immigration office because they may know that all national university of education profs get a check every year--but this check does not include the HIV and drugs testing that is required in the E2 Visa policy . . . . I don't know . . . the medical check, frankly, is an easy to get done thing--it's the VSS I'm worried about because it looks like I'd have to pay the airfare to go home to apply for it and get the paperwork done. The university would not reimburse my airfare which would really really suck.

After having read this last night I'm angry--really angry that whatever information I may be told right now it could all change because of this,

"On December 30, 2008, a bill was introduced to the Korean National Assembly proposing an amendment of the Immigration Control Act. The bill seeks to establish the “legal basis to require foreigners applying for an employment visa to submit a criminal background check and health certificate”

I have a strong feeling of despondency that regardless of what the immigration office says that if this bill is passed it will change what I have to do . . . meaning I'll have to shell out the cash to get on an airplane home to do the paperwork . . .

"E-2 visa holders are already required by the Korea Immigration Service to submit to drug checks, medical checks including an HIV test, and criminal background checks, however, the proposed bill states the revision would apply to “foreigners applying for an employment visa”. This is a markedly larger group of foreigners than just E-2 visa holders. Further, by becoming an Act of the National Assembly, it becomes much more difficult to challenge."

I'm worried that the immigration office might do a 2009 re-interpretation of their re-interpretation of the 2008 E2 Visa policy so that it is actually somehow in line with the language of the bill in the national assembly--though the problems with translating the language of a Korean bill into English, and then the problems of how each immigration office across the country interprets the actual in the flesh implementation of the policy still leaves everything wide open . . . sigh.

Update: Scribblings of the Metropolitician has a post here that talks about this new bill with a bit more detail and comments.

Alright . . . I just got the call from the secretary. Here are the requirements for me to renew my E2 visa as of January 6th, 2009 in Chuncheon, Gangwon province.

Keep in mind I'm a Canadian and that I'm finishing up my fourth year in Korea. Add to the mix that I work at a national university of education which I suspect may have a degree of influence over how the E2 Visa policy is interpreted.

1. passport
2. alien registration card
3. 30 000won fee
4. original copy of my contract
5. photocopy of my contract
6. appointment as an English instructor document written and signed by the university president
7. document proving that the university is a registered education facility with the government education office

Wow . . . wow . . . wow . . . I'm still in shock. And I keep thinking about how a colleague of mine is back in Canada on vacation right now and how she thinks she has to get a VSS criminal background check and is doing all the paper work and legwork to get one before she comes back to Korea . . . she's going to be really really 'happy' to hear about this 'new' policy . . .

I wonder what all the other Canadian teachers in Korea are being told . . . ? Please post a message if you read this and your requirements are different. I've had email correspondence going on now for a while with other Canadian teachers I know in Korea. The requirements for renewal of their E2 Visas do NOT match what I've just had confirmed for a second time . . . wow.

Wow . . . I'm just going to keep banging my head on a piece of wood (knock on wood) and keep thinking that somehow I'm 'lucky' . . .

thunk . . . thunk . . . thunk . . .

*I just have to keep telling myself that every time I think something in Korea is going to go horribly wrong, and it does go horribly wrong, that everything always seems to work out in the end . . . it's that middle part that I really hate, argh.


David said...

Hi Jason, long time no see. Just thought I would leave a comment here. I am not sure what they are going to require me to do to get my Visa renewed for my job yet, but I do have some information that may be useful. I have managed to get a VSS Criminal Record Check sent to me here in Korea. I applied for it through a company back home and it is an actually Criminal record check and VSS from the police itself. So you should be able to save some money ordering one of those rather than flying home for one. It took me about a week and a half to get it here. Also I have been told that you can go to the embassy itself and apply for a police check with VSS through them. Although I have not verified this myself. I was also told though that a check through the embassy could take much longer and that it is probably easier to have one sent from home. I hope this helps!

Jason said...

Hi David,

I'm just going to go next week and see if I can get my visa renewed a little early . . . if they tell me anything counter to what I've been told twice now about what documents are needed I'll deal with it then, and you can be sure I'll be blogging about it too.

Where are you working now?


Angela Lee McIntyre said...

Hi, this may be old news by now. I'm a Canadian renewing her E-2 visa and I also work at a National University and all of the list checks out with what they've given me, although I have not been to the immigration office yet. I DID have to have another health exam but that's because I work for a national university, which makes me a civil servant and they all have to have one. (I hope I'm not repeating you.) The only other thing is the 50,000 won re-entry visa. I don't have extra cash for that right now, so can't seem to find out if I can get it later or not. Anyway, thanks for your blog and solid info.
Angela in Andong

Jason said...

Hi Angela,

I did the health check that my university required me to do with all the other faculty, Korean and foreign, but didn't have to do one for immigration because I was renewing with the same visa sponsor/workplace . . . don't know what the logic is in that one, but I ran with it.

As for the re-entry visa I'm pretty sure you can get that at any time during the year. I don't think that's a one time only thing.

I'm glad the info helped, and hope that you'll also blog about your experiences too.

The more info that is on the Net the more we can help each other live in Korea.

Take care,

Jason said...

Angela, do you have a blog? I tried to see if you do but nothing comes up . ..