NA­TIONAL

The Korea Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Kim Jae-heun [email protected]­re­atimes.co.kr

An ap­pel­late court said it is dis­crim­i­na­tory to only al­low women to qual­ify for an F-1 visa that is given to a fam­ily mem­ber of a for­eign im­mi­grant who is mar­ried to a Korean.

An ap­pel­late court said it is dis­crim­i­na­tion to only al­low women to qual­ify for an F-1 visa that is given to a fam­ily mem­ber of a for­eign im­mi­grant who is mar­ried to a Korean.

The Seoul High Court said Mon­day it re­versed a lo­cal court de­ci­sion to rule in fa­vor of a Viet­namese man against the im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties.

The man’s sis­ter mar­ried a Korean man in 2007, earned Korean cit­i­zen­ship and gave birth to a child seven years later. To help his sis­ter raise the child, he ap­plied for an F-1 visa, which can al­low him to stay up to four years and 10 months here, in­stead of a C-3 visa that only al­lows a short-term visit.

But the im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties re­jected the applicatio­n cit­ing an in­ter­nal guide­line of the Korea Im­mi­gra­tion Ser­vice.

Un­der the guide­line, the visa is of­fered to a close rel­a­tive of an im­mi­grant who is preg­nant or has al­ready given birth to a baby and needs the rel­a­tive’s help in child­care if her par­ents are un­avail­able. But it lim­its the eli­gi­ble per­son to a “fe­male” rel­a­tive such as a sis­ter or cousin.

He filed a com­plaint but a lo­cal court ruled in fa­vor of the gov­ern­ment say­ing the Viet­namese man did not meet the con­di­tions for the visa due to his gen­der.

How­ever, the ap­pel­late court over­turned the de­ci­sion based on an en­force­ment or­di­nance of the Im­mi­gra­tion Con­trol Act, which does not spec­ify that only women can qual­ify for an F-1 visa.

The high court said the en­force­ment or­di­nance stands above the ad­min­is­tra­tive guide­line. “Ac­cord­ing to the guide­line, a mar­riage im­mi­grant can­not get sup­port from her fam­ily mem­ber if she does not have a sis­ter or fe­male cousin, and this will be dis­crim­i­na­tion,” the court said.

The im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties ar­gued that the 37-year-old Viet­namese man was highly likely to at­tempt to get a job il­le­gally here and thus they could not is­sue the F-1 visa. But the court said sta­tis­tics show gen­der does not play an im­por­tant role when it comes to il­le­gal em­ploy­ment of im­mi­grants’ fam­ily mem­bers.

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