Thursday, December 29, 2022

"Illegal native speaking instructors will no longer be tolerated"

 The Rise and Fall of E-2-visa HIV testing in South Korea, 1988 - 2017

Part 1: The 1988 Olympics and Korean fears of AIDS
Part 2: HIV testing for foreigners in the aftermath of the 1988 Olympics (unfinished)
Part 3: Anti-English Spectrum begins to link foreign English teachers to AIDSPart 5: Using their own articles, Anti English Spectrum petitions for E-2 visa changes

On October 28, 2007, five days after the Immigration policy meeting hosted by the Ministry of Justice to which Anti English Spectrum's leader Lee Eun-ung was invited, the Ministry of Justice released the following statement:
Illegal native speaking instructors will no longer be tolerated
The Ministry of Justice has decided to prepare strong measures to eradicate illegal acts by native speaking instructors, which have recently caused social problems such as classes by unqualified instructors, drug use, and sex crimes, and will be implemented from December.

In order to prevent an influx of unfit native speaking instructors, when applying for a visa, it will be mandatory to submit a certificate of criminal record check and a medical certificate, and as a general rule those applying will do so to the Korean diplomatic missions in the country of the applicant and conduct consular interviews, and this will significantly strengthen verification of conversation instructors.

In addition, there will be entry restrictions on conversation instructors who disturb order while in Korea, such as using forged degrees to teach conversation illegally, taking drugs, or committing sex crimes, and punishment for illegal employers will be further strengthened, while information on disorderly conversation instructors will be shared and centrally managed among related organizations, so their entry will be fundamentally prevented by strict screening from the visa application stage.

□ Reinforcing conversation instructor qualification verification

In order to obtain a conversation instruction (E-2) visa in the future, when applying for visa issuance, applicants will have to submit a criminal record certificate issued by their government and a self-health examination for drug use and contagious diseases. After entering Korea, they must obtain a health certificate from a designated hospital and submit it to the immigration office.

In order to prevent forgery and falsification of various application documents such as criminal record certificates, applicants will have to submit them after receiving from their government an ‘Apostille’, a certificate proving that it is an official document issued in the country.

Until now, in the case of native speakers who have been issued a visa issuance certificate by the Immigration Office, there have been limitations in confirming whether they have obtained a degree because they were issued a conversation instructor visa at Korean diplomatic missions in Japan and China.

In principle, from now on, they must apply for a visa at a Korean diplomatic mission in their home country, and a first-time applicant must undergo a consular interview, making the visa issuance screening even more stringent.

In order to prevent the submission of forged documents such as diplomas when applying for a visa issuance certificate to the immigration office, the Seoul Immigration Office will organize and operate a document identification team to fundamentally block the issuance of conversation instructor visas using forged documents. 

□ Support for flexible supply of native speaking instructors at companies

In order to solve the shortage of native speaking instructors that may occur due to the strengthening of qualifications for conversation instructors, there is a plan to utilize as instructors excellent foreign human resources, such as conversation instructors and professionals staying in Korea.

[This will involve] flexible operation of the system under the Immigration Control Act that allows for activities other than the status of sojourn recognized (Article 20) and change or addition of workplace (Article 21).

□ Strengthening conversation instructor residence management and employer management

In order to prevent illegal conversation instruction and illegal acts such as drug use and sexual harassment by conversation instructors, joint crackdowns on illegal conversation instruction will be continuously and systematically implemented, and for foreigners caught, action will be taken to deport them while restricting their entry.

Punishment for illegal employers will be further strengthened by notifying the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development of violations of the law and imposing administrative sanctions against illegal teaching academies, so the employment of illegal conversation instructors will be blocked at the source.

In order to prevent native speaking instructors who cause social controversy due to drug use, sexual harassment, and alcoholism from staying in Korea, the lists of problematic conversation instructors, which have been separately managed by each institution, is to be shared with related organizations, such as the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development, and the Korean Hagwon Association, to be centrally managed, and entry will be fundamentally prevented by strict screening from the visa application stage.

□ Expected effects of the measures to improve the conversation instructor system

Due to these measures taken against conversation instructors by the Ministry of Justice, which will make it possible to block in advance the inflow of illegal conversation instructors with criminal records, drug users, and those who obtain visas through forged degrees, as well as illegal conversation lectures by those entering Korea without a visa, such as those on tourist visas, it is expected that public anxiety caused by unqualified conversation instructors will be largely resolved by blocking the illegal acts of unfit conversation instructors.

The Ministry of Justice will continuously monitor the effectiveness of these measures and devise stronger sanctions if the illegal acts of conversation instructors are not eradicated.
As to how these changes were to be legislated, four days earlier, on October 24, 2007, the day after the immigration policy meeting to which Lee Eun-ung was invited, bill number 7642 had been submitted to the National Assembly by ruling party representative Shin Hak-yong. This bill was not passed, however. As Benjamin Wagner described it in a petition to the National Human Rights Commission of Korea
12 members of the National Assembly introduced Bill No. 7642 to establish “the legal basis to require that foreigners applying for an employment visa submit a criminal background check and a health certificate.” When this bill failed to establish “the legal basis” to implement these requirements, the decision was made to establish an immediate program to carry out, by extra-legal means, what Bill No.7642 had attempted to legislate. This program came in the form of a “policy memo” (without the proper status of law) created by the Residence Policy Division of the Korea Immigration Service in November 2007 and entitled “원어민회화지도 (E-2) 사증제도개선안내.”
On December 10, the new E-2 visa requirements were released in English, which included, along with criminal record checks and drug tests, tests for HIV status. Here is the E-2 Policy Memo:

As it notes, the 'Background of the Change[s] is the "Serious social outcry [caused by] the unqualified E2 teaching visa holders" due to "news media coverage about those unqualified E2 teaching visa holders." As noted previously, all of the negative articles connecting English teachers with AIDS, even, in one case warning "Beware of the Ugly White Teacher," were the result of efforts by Anti-English Spectrum, who fed tips to the media and then police (or vice versa).

While this campaign by AES had succeeded after little over a year (after the Breaknews article appeared in September 2006), the E-2 HIV tests would take a decade to undo, with the first step in that effort being taken almost a year later when it was realized that the legality of the HIV tests thousands of foreign teachers already in the country had been subject to rested on nothing more than a policy memo.

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