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23 Yemenis granted 1-year humanitarian stay in S. Korea

Posted September. 15, 2018 08:11,   

Updated September. 15, 2018 08:11


South Korea’s immigration office has granted 23 Yemeni asylum seekers the right to stay in the country on humanitarian grounds.

The Jeju Immigration Office decided Friday to give 23 Yemenis humanitarian stay permits in South Korea, who are mostly families with young children, minors, and those pregnant or injured. A total of 484 Yemeni people had applied for asylum this year, and the office conducted interviews and background checks while thoroughly reviewing their applications to select the 23 people out of 440 applicants until Thursday.

The 23 Yemenis have been granted a one-year stay, and they are also allowed to leave Jeju for other parts of the country. Yet, the local immigration office has not granted official refugee status to any of the applicants as they have failed to meet the criteria defined in international refugee law and conventions.

Humanitarian stay permits are granted when asylum seekers are not eligible for refugee status, but considered to have a need to stay in the country for other circumstances that may pose a threat to their life and health. Those given humanitarian visas mostly fled the ongoing war in their homeland or forced conscription by Houthi rebels, who has seized control of Sanaa, the capital of Yemen.

“If the current situation in Yemen gets better, we will not extend their stay permit or will cancel it,” said the immigration office. The Yemenis’ residency status can be also canceled if they break any of the country’s law.

Yoon-Su Kim ys@donga.com