ATEK's interview with Kyunghee University Law School associate professor Benjamin Wagner - published at the Marmot's Hole - is quite interesting, if you haven't read it yet. His actions have attracted the attention of the Korea Times ("Foreign Teachers Fight 'Discrimination'; Justice Ministry Discounts the Claim"), and the Joongang Ilbo ("Visa rules for foreign English teachers challenged"), who tell us that
A law professor filed a report with the National Human Rights Commission yesterday asserting that health and criminal checks required of native English language teachers entering Korea are discriminatory.It's interesting to note that, at the moment (will the Herald get on board?) there are as many English language articles about this as there are Korean language articles - one from Hanguk Gyeongje and one from Yonhap. Funny how the Canadian teacher accused of molesting three elementary school students was reported by 5 news outlets in Korean, but this garners only 2 reports.
The justice ministry's response is not surprising:
Kim Young-geun, a deputy director at the Justice Ministry’s Korea Immigration Service, said the ministry doesn’t agree with the report. People who want to work in Korea need to follow the country’s law, he said.That's pretty much the same thing they said a month ago. The statistics that Wagner found regarding drug arrests were very interesting: the highest number of arrests in a given year was 24 marijuana arrests in 2007 - out of 17,721 E2 visa holders - and 0 arrests for any other drug, though it's for drugs other than marijuana that E2 visa holders are being tested for. Sounds like a necessary requirement to me. Perhaps car insurance records from home countries should also be submitted with E2 visa applications... they'd seem to be about as relevant.
“Different countries have different visa policies. It is a matter of a country’s sovereignty to decide who should be allowed to enter the country,” said Kim. He added that the ministry included only requirements that it deemed necessary.
[Update - as noted in the comments, YTN has also reported on this, as has the Munhwa Ilbo - so that's 4 reports, though the Yonhap piece was carried by Naver News as well].