The government on Tuesday approved a revision to the immigration control law that will compel foreigners to be fingerprinted and photographed when they enter Korea. If the Justice Ministry submits the bill to the National Assembly by the end of this month and it is passed, the new law will come into effect on July 1, 2012.
All foreigners over 17 must be fingerprinted and have facial photographs taken in immigration at the airport. Those who refuse may be denied entry to the country. Foreigners already in the country must register their fingerprints and photos when they visit the immigration office to register as foreign residents or apply for an extension of stay.
The database with the fingerprints and pictures will be managed by Korea Immigration Service and can be used in criminal investigations or court hearings.
During a recent parliamentary audit, the ministry pledged to deport foreigners convicted of child sex crimes and ban them from entering the country.
Nine countries including France, Japan, Spain, and the U.S. currently fingerprint visitors. The EU will start fingerprinting them from 2010, and Taiwan and Canada are considering it.