Ex-Felons to Be Banned from Taking Mail-Order Brides

  • By Heo Sang-woo

    November 25, 2019 13:54

    Men convicted of violent crimes including domestic violence and sexual assault will be banned from marrying mail-order brides from abroad.

    The toughened measures follow a string of reports of Korean husbands abusing or even murdering their foreign wives. A multilingual emergency app in 13 languages will also be launched late next year, so that foreign wives can report domestic violence.

    The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family last week released the new policy, which it worked out in cooperation with other ministries and the National Police Agency.

    The government will revise enforcement regulations for immigration laws so as not to issue marriage visas for foreign spouses of ex-felons starting October next year. The black mark against such felons' names expires after 10 years.

    Critics pointed out that this infringes the rights of reformed felons, or contrariwise gives foreign women better protection than Korean ones.

    The government also decided to lower the barrier to citizenship in response to complaints about the difficulties divorced foreign wives are facing. This aims to help them escape abusive relationships without fear of being deported.

    In the past, citizenship was given to foreign wives getting divorced only when it was proved that their Korean husbands were 100 percent responsible for their divorce. But now citizenship will be given to them when their Korean husbands are "chiefly" responsible.

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