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Bill to give resident`s rights to foreigners

Posted March. 29, 2001 10:57,   


Reps. Chyung Dai-Chul of the Millennium Democratic Party and Lee Bu-Young of the Grand National Party agreed to submit a bill to next month`s extraordinary session of the National Assembly that would allow long-term alien residents here, mostly Chinese, to gain the right of permanent residence.

The draft law aims to grant the right to those foreigners who have lived in Korea for over five years in due observance of the Immigration Control Law and who satisfy the following conditions: One who is a major under the Korean civil code and whose parent is a Korean national or a permanent resident here; One who is able to support himself by his property or skill or who can depend upon one`s relative for livelihood; One who has a fair command of the Korean language and adequate understanding of local customs.

These who qualify would enjoy the same rights as Korean nationals to acquire, possess, utilize and dispose of real estate except under certain circumstances. They would also be entitled to equal benefits under the national health insurance and pension programs and have the right to receive an education in local schools.

Rep. Chyung said Wednesday that last November a bill to give long-term foreign residents the right to vote in local elections was presented to the legislature, but he felt they deserved the right of permanent residence for stable settlement prior to enfranchisement. Many Chinese here also preferred permanent resident`s status to the right to vote.

As of the end of 1999 there were 22,719 aliens who had resided in Korea for more than five years and they have been required to renew permits for an extended stay every five years.

Yoon Jong-Koo jkmas@donga.com