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.
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.
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