Tuesday, February 08, 2011

The 1983 Law "Limiting Aliens' Residence Period" and banning "unqualified" foreigners from working.

The French foreign language teacher scandal of 1984

Prelude 1: The 1983 Law "Limiting Aliens' Residence Period" and banning "unqualified" foreigners from working.
Prelude 2: "Koreans have a weakness for Foreigners"
Prelude 3: 10,000 illegal sojourners or immigration cheaters... the days and nights of Itaewon

Part 1: Le Monde and what came before
Part 2: Korea is "Ali Baba's" Cave
Part 3: Seoul Should not be a Workplace for Parisians
Part 4: In private foreign language classes, there are a lot of ‘fraud teachers’
Part 5: Jibberish
Part 6: 'I Want to Strike it Rich in Seoul Too' - Continuous Job Inquiries by the French
Part 7Foreigners Enjoy Better Life With Mother Tongues
Part 8: Foreigners and Foreign Languages 
Part 9: Sickening Face
Part 10: Barking Up the Wrong Tree
Part 11: The First Sanctions on Foreigners Working Illegally
Part 12: All Private Lessons by Foreigners Prohibited
Part 13: Institutes Asked to Hire Eligible Foreign Teachers
Part 14: "Seoul Wind"
Part 15: Foreign Language Teacher Shortage
Part 16: Troublemaking vagabond foreigner story finally airs

Prelude 1: The 1983 Law "Limiting Aliens' Residence Period" and banning "unqualified" foreigners from working.

The following article was published by the Joongang Ilbo on November 11, 1983. Many thanks to David Carruth for translating this article.

Ban on Unqualified Foreigners Teaching at Institutes
On November 10th, the Ministry of Justice moved to prevent unqualified foreigners from teaching classes at foreign language academies inside Korea by making changes to the immigration regulations. The bill containing the new regulations was submitted at this session of the National Assembly and is scheduled to go into effect from July 1st of next year.

The bill makes it mandatory for anyone interested in hiring foreigners to work in Korea to select people with qualifications appropriate to the form of employment.

The purpose of the bill is to protect the jobs of Koreans by preventing foreigners from obtaining work as teachers at foreign language academies or employees at international firms. However, the changes would not apply to those coming to Korea for the purpose of engaging in missionary work or traveling.

In addition, the bill enables more efficient administration of the foreign population by limiting the number of times foreigners can extend their residence period in Korea to a maximum of two.

This bill, which came into effect in July 1984, does not seem very punitive, and says only that it is "mandatory for anyone interested in hiring foreigners to work in Korea to select people with qualifications appropriate to the form of employment." The report makes it clear that these rules were not limited to only foreign teachers working at language institutes. Here's how the Korea Times reported it on the same day (click to enlarge):

Interesting that foreign teachers were mentioned so prominently in the Joongang Ilbo article the same day, but were not mentioned at all in the Korea Times (a paper foreign teachers might actually be reading). It seems this law also led to the change from a 60 day stay without registering to the 90 day stay which is in place now. The next day, the Times published the following article:

Interesting to look at the breakdown of foreigners in the country at the time: Of 46,803 foreigners from 86 countries staying over 60 days, 27,975 were Chinese, 11,276 were American, and 2,479 were Japanese (though Americans led in the illegal overstayer department). The fact that 2,327 people were there for programs to train Koreans in skills and techniques and 1,282 for religious or public welfare activities also highlights how Korea was almost reaching the point of being 'developed' (hence there were still a number of people there for welfare or training purposes), while the 5,831 there on business point to its growing economy (as do the growing number of language teachers being able to make a living in Korea, as well as more illegal endeavors like smuggling).

These statistics give us some idea of what things were like in Korea prior to the 'Le Monde' scandal which occurred in August 1984 - a month and a half after the law described above came into effect. It would lead to new visa rules for foreign English teachers.

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