Foreign spouses must pass a Korean language test to be allowed to enter Korea
A well-intended law was implemented in South Korea to protect foreign spouses from possible domestic abuse, but it has led to much dissent and protests as over 1,000 foreign spouses, mostly wives, have been denied entry because they can't pass the Korean language test. An irate husband has even resorted to an angry attack.
The new immigration law requires that foreign spouses must pass a Korean language exam before they are given visas to enter South Korea. Since there is a scarcity of marriageable women in the rural areas, this law is particularly impacting farmers who have used match-making services to find and marry foreign brides.
A farmer in his 40s was quoted saying this about his Cambodian wife who failed the test: "It’s a difficult situation that you have to pass an exam in order to come into the country. My wife in Cambodia also feels this way and I miss her a lot.”
On March 27, a man in his 60s set the office of a match-making service on fire because he was angry that his Vietnamese wife was denied entry to Korea.
The original intent of the law was to protect the foreign spouses from possible domestic abuse where the spouse was not able to communicate his or her situation due to the language barrier.
Responses to the new law have been varied. Among online comments, some agree that possessing the language skill should be a requirement, while others point out that there should be a grace period to let the foreign spouses enter Korea first. Some oppose even the idea of multicultural marriages, and others wonder about how difficult it would be for spouses from western countries to learn Korean.
What do you think? I guess on the lighter side, we fangirls had better start learning Korean soon and fast. I do feel bad about the couples who are already married. What if the wife never passes the exam?
Watch No Min Woo and Yang Jin Sung in My Unfortunate Boyfriend, a lighthearted romance about a woman who lies to get ahead and a man who firmly believes in the truth: