The actions of the few…

UPDATE (13 Nov.): Here’s an article that explains everything. Key quote for me: “The new regulations will only affect foreigners holding E-2 visas, and those seeking an E-2 visa.” So, cool. I can go forward with my winter travel plans. Of course this sucks for my E-2 friends renewing contracts. Visa runs to Japan are now a thing of the past.

I need to get some kind of Korea-Expat RSS feed going or something, because it seems everyone else knew this news except me: Korea is tightening its visa standards for foreign instructors. Not “foreign workers” mind you, just instructors.

It all started when a foreign teacher, Christopher Paul Neil of Canada, was arrested in Thailand for alleged child sex abuse while living in Korea. I heard about this, but didn’t give it much thought. It was big enough news though, because anytime something like this happens there’s a period of hysteria. We all get affected by it (some are even inspired to react in creative ways). Maybe it’s the collective-consciousness-culture thing, but when a lone idiot fucks up, we’re all seen as responsible… or at least suspect. So now they’re expelling people not for crimes in Korea, but for having criminal records in their home countries.

Apparently it’s all part of a crackdown in Korea. This is where my details get a little hazy because I can’t seem to find any specific reports about this on the internet. But last night at band rehearsal my friends were telling me that to get a new work visa for next year, I now have to get it in my own country. I’ve got a one-year E-1 that expires in March. Previously, we could go to Japan or China to get a new visa, but now we have to go home, then come back. If this is true, it completely screws up my winter break plans. It’s also another expensive flight. And if I’m correctly understanding the US tax laws, it could also potentially cost me tens of thousands of dollars in US income tax.

It’s just bad timing and a few bad seeds. Korea’s been hit with a few incidents lately regarding teachers who lied about credentials or got arrested. So we all have to suffer for their transgressions.

I’ve got nothing to worry about. I have no criminal record and my credentials are legit. I’m just upset that I have to fly across the globe to prove that.

But again, I’m sketchy on the details. Are professors considered “instructors”? Is this just for hagwon teachers? Private universities? Public Universities? E-1 visa-holders or just E-2? I hope to talk to administration tomorrow to see what the real story is. I’ll post an update if I learn more.


6 Responses to “The actions of the few…”

  1. What’s a “hagwon teacher?” It’s not unusual for innocent people to pay the price for others’ misdeeds. It’s one reason we’re all supposed to behave. Sorry.

  2. I had to get a visa to go France, but I didn’t have to do it in person. I just paid my travel agent and maybe filled out a form. Or maybe that was done for me as well. I’m sure it’s different for work visas, but have you considered asking an American travel agent for help? I work right across the courtyard from the Labor Board, which is a federal agency. I can see if they have some information. We don’t really write about foreign employment, but maybe my boss has a source.

  3. What about the American Embassy? Aren’t they supposed to be your homeland representative?

  4. A hagwon teacher (if I’m spelling that right) is a foreign teacher employed by private English language institutions. Some of them are decent, some are excellent, others are notorious for treating foreigners very badly and running shady operations.

    In fact, if the government’s going to be cracking down on foreign teachers, maybe they should also take a look at some of these hagwons.

    Thanks for the advice. Looks like I’m fine. See update above.

  5. […] 13th, 2007 For anyone interested, I updated this post about new visa restrictions in Korea. It doesn’t affect me, but should hugely impact those at private teaching institutions […]

  6. So what’s the difference between an E1 and an E2? I’m assuming you have an E1.

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