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Do Black Lives Matter in Korea?

Episode 153

Jun 7, 2020

Guest: Michael Hurt, Ph. D.

Longtime expat, photographer, and thinker Michael Hurt discusses issues of George Floyd, racism in Korea and America, and the new visa re-entry restrictions.

 

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Michael Hurt

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Joe McPherson

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  • George Floyd and #BlackLivesMatter in Korea
  • Korea’s Record with Foreigners During COVID-19
    • Minor restaurant discrimination
    • Mask-gate
    • Emergency Alerts for foreigners
    • Financial assistance
    • Itaewon
    • Removing “Alien” from Alien Registration
    • Nullifying Short-term Visas
    • New Re-entry Requirements
      • “The rule applies to foreigners with family in the country and permanent residents, while excluding holders of A-1 diplomatic, A-2 official, A-3 treaties and F-4 overseas Korean visas.”
        • Why not Permanent Residents? Why are F-4 exempt?
        • So an F-4 that later got Permanent Residency isn’t exempt?
      • Must get a permit from Immigration before leaving
        • Will start an online system at the end of the month
      • Hard part: Must get a medical examination 48 hours from returning to Korea in ENGLISH OR KOREAN!!!!
        • Good luck, people visiting non-English-or-Korean-speaking countries
          • Or countries where it’s hard to get tested
        • Issuing medical institutes must be recognized by local Korean embassies or consulates. (How to find this out?)
        • From Q&A (HWP file on Immigration website)
          • Any medical practitioner holding a practising certificate or license may conduct the medical examination and provide the medical certificate(written diagnosis); and there is no particular format required. 
          • Medical certificates must be issued in either Korean or English. However, under exceptional circumstances, a written diagnosis, not originally issued in languages other than English or Korean, can be accepted when submitted with a full English or Korean translation and “Certificate of Translation”; no notary is required.
          • – To find out the form of Certificate of Translation, please visit our website www.hikorea.go.kr.
      • Foreigners who have an Isolation Exemption Certificate issued by a Korean Embassy or Consulate are exempt
      • However, if the applicant will be re-entering within 3 weeks from the date of departure for the purpose of business·investment, academic·research, or journalism, he or she can apply for the issuance of ‘Medical Examination Exemption Certificate’. 

Full Q&A from Immigration Website (for people who don’t have HWP)

https://www.hikorea.go.kr/pt/NtcCotnDetailR_en.pt?bbsGbCd=BS10&bbsSeq=4&langCd=EN&ntccttSeq=27

 

Contents

 

  1. The rationale of updating our re-entry policy 2
  2. Application procedure, required documents and fee 2
  3. criteria for approval of the re-entry permit 3
  4. Fast-track approval for re-entry on humanitarian grounds 3
  5. The definition of “48 hours prior to departure” 4
  6. Whether X-ray scanning is compulsory 4
  7. Fast-track approval for re-entry on humanitarian grounds 5
  8. Assistance to minimize disruption in business activities 5
  9. Treatment of people approved of re-entry before June 1st 6
  10. Relationship between the quarantine measures 6
  11. Application to flight attendants and ship crews 7

① Why is the new measure being implemented?

 

❍ As of 31 May, a total of 93 accumulated cases were reported since January 2020. This accounts for 44% of all 209 imported cases by long-term foreign residents, meaning long-term foreign residents are involved in a half of all imported cases.

❍ The Korean government is restricting inbound/outbound travel of Korean citizens by issuing travel warning in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The government has also introduced some restrictions to short-term residents by nullifying short-term stay visas and by requiring short/long term visa applicants to submit a medical certificate. However, no special measures covered long-term foreign residents, aside from self quarantine, and this is the reason of introducing the new policy update.

❍ This new policy is introduced after multiple rounds of pan-governmental discussions, including the health authorities, to a) secure the health and well-being of all Korean nationals and foreign residents alike and b) ensure preparedness to a possible “second spike”, which is warned against by the WHO by discouraging long-term foreign residents in Korea to minimize non-essential international travel and requiring them to submit a medical diagnosis prior to re-entry.

② Please explain the procedure for re-entry application, the required documents and fee. 

 

❍ Applicants should visit an Immigration Office in Korea and submit documents such as passport, Alien Registration Card, Application and Consent forms, and pay a fee of 30,000KRW. 

 – However, if the applicant will be re-entering within 3 weeks from the date of departure for the purpose of business·investment, academic·research, or journalism, he or she can apply for the issuance of ‘Medical Examination Exemption Certificate’. The holder of the certificate will not be required to submit the consent form for possession of medical certificate. (Regarding medical examination exemption certificate, refer to question ⑨.)

 *  Please visit www.hikorea.go.kr for more information.

③ What are the criteria for approval/disapproval of the re-entry permit?

 

❍ The decision for the re-entry permit will be made after considering the purpose of stay and departure as well as quarantine related matters, but if there is a need to leave the country, permission will be granted promptly unless there is a special reason not to do so. 

④ Where do I go for medical certification and which type of medical certificate is required for a re-entry?

 

❍ Any medical practitioner holding a practising certificate or license may conduct the medical examination and provide the medical certificate(written diagnosis); and there is no particular format required. 

❍ Medical certificates must be issued in either Korean or English. However, under exceptional circumstances, a written diagnosis, not originally issued in languages other than English or Korean, can be accepted when submitted with a full English or Korean translation and “Certificate of Translation”; no notary is required.

 – To find out the form of Certificate of Translation, please visit our website www.hikorea.go.kr.

  * As of 13th April, all applicants for Korean visa must submit a medical certificate, in a similar form, with his or her application. Therefore, please contact an embassy or consulate for detailed information. 

⑤ It is announced that only “medical certificates issued within 48 hours” are accepted. What are the rules in defining 48 hours? 

 

  ❍ The best way to do is to count two days backward from your departure date with the need of excluding weekends and holidays. For instance, when your departure time is June 10, 21:00, you can obtain your medical certificate anytime between June 8 and 9. 

  ❍ Please note that under exceptional circumstances, medical certificates issued within three days from your departure date, not including weekends and holidays, can be an allowable option, as well.  

⑥ Do I need a chest x-ray to check for pneumonia?

 

❍ Every medical certificate that reveals whether or not signs and symptoms of COVID-19 are presented can be admitted. You do not need to have a chest x-ray as long as the information associated with symptoms of pneumonia is included in your certificate. 

  * As an applicant for a visa must submit a medical certificate, in the same form, with his or her application, please contact an embassy or consulate for detailed information. 

⑦ If I need to leave urgently for my country due to an emergency family situation, would it be possible to obtain a re-entry permit right away? 

 

  ❍ Permission will be granted promptly if there are humanitarian reasons such as death of family members  

  ❍ Re-entry permission can be obtained from all Immigration Offices located in Korea and is planned to be processed within 30 minutes at the airport on the date of departure. (during June, applications can be made without prior reservation to visit a local immigration office. When applying at an Immigration Office located at the airport, reservation is not required.)

※ When applying for re-entry permission at an Immigration Office* that requires reservation, online reservation should be made through hikorea.go.kr after June. 

 * (15 Offices) Seoul, Southern Seoul, Incheon, Suwon, Yangju, Busan, Daegu, Gwangju, Ulsan, Cheongju, Ansan, Sejong-ro, Pyeongtaek Branch, Cheonan, Goyang 

※ Please note that time may be consuming in the event of temporary influx of applicants at the airport. It is recommended that applicants arrive at the airport earlier than usual on the date of departure and complete related procedures in time. 

 ❍ In addition, we are developing a system (by mid-June) to enable simplified on-line application through the HiKorea website. 

⑧ Are there any measures in place to facilitate the business, journalism and academic activities?

 

❍ Those holding a “Isolation Exemption Certificate” issued by a Korean embassy or consulate are exempted from medical examination and the obligation to submit a medical certificate.

❍ Additionally, As part of an effort to remove unnecessary restrictions, a “Medical Examination Exemption Certificate” will be issued by immigration office, to those who re-enter Korea within 3 weeks from the date of departure for the purposes of business · investment, academic · research and journalism. 

  ※ For further information regarding application process for Medical Examination Exemption Certificate, please refer to the announcement at our website: www.hikorea.go.kr 

 

⑨ Is this new measure applied to long-term stayers holding Re-entry Permit Exemption who departed before May 31 and plan to re-enter Korea after June 1, the enforcement date?

 

❍ The temporary suspension of Re-entry Permit Exemption is not retroactive and therefore can be only applied to registered foreigners who depart after the new measure takes effect on June 1.

❍ Therefore, those who have departed or will depart before May 31 remain exempted from approval of Re-entry Permit and the following obligation to present a medical certificate for re-entry

⑩ Are quarantine measures including COVID-19 testing and mandatory quarantine equally applied to those with Re-Entry Permit for re-entry? 

 

❍ Regardless of the possession of Re-entry Permit, quarantine measures  are equally applied to those holding Re-Entry Permit.

❍ In accordance with measures implemented by quarantine authorities, all foreign nationals entering Korea are subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine at a designated facility. In other words, the preventative measures will remain in place regardless of the introduction of this new measure.

⑪ Are flight attendants or ship crews required to be granted with Re-entry Permit and to submit a medical certificate for re-entry?

 

❍ We deem these professions exceptional, therefore granting Re-Entry Exemption and exemption from the following obligation to present a medical certificate.

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