23 Yemenis Given Permission to Stay in Korea

  • By Oh Jae-yong

    September 17, 2018 11:36

    Some 23 Yemeni refugees have been given permission to stay in Korea since arriving on Jeju Island earlier this year fleeing the civil war in their country, the Justice Ministry said last Friday.

    Although they were not granted asylum, they are now able to stay here temporarily since their lives could be at risk if they return home. They can stay anywhere in Korea for up to a year but will then have to have their permit reviewed.

    Yemeni refugees walk out of an immigration office in Jeju on Friday. /Yonhap

    Nearly all of them told immigration officials that they want to move to Seoul or Busan. They landed in Jeju because the island offers a special visa waiver to encourage tourism that does not apply at other ports of entry in Korea.

    Their presence even in such small numbers has given rise to a wave of xenophobia, and the Cheong Wa Dae website was abuzz with denunciations of "pseudo refugees" who will now swarm all over Korea to launch "terror attacks like those seen in Europe."

    But the Justice Ministry does not see that as a worry. Out of the 23 Yemenis who were granted permission to stay this time, 10 are under 19. The ministry said it "carefully screened the Yemenis for records of terrorist activities, drug use or criminal records" and added that it will be able to keep track of them.

    "They can be punished if they fail to register their addresses," the ministry said. According to government data, asylum applications rose from 1,574 in 2013 to 9,942 last year.

    • Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com
    Previous Next
    All Headlines Back to Top