Korean Test Now Required for Marriage Immigrants

Article from SBS:

Foreign spouses are denied entry to Korea if unable to speak Korean.


Last year, a law was revised in order to require all foreign spouses [of Korean nationals] to have a basic level of Korean as a condition of entry. Many have complained, saying their foreign spouses often are not allowed to enter Korea.

Reporter Yoon Nara has more on the story.


On March 27th, a man in his 60s started a fire at a marriage agency, killing one of the company’s representatives.

He had married a Vietnamese woman [in Vietnam], and when she failed to get permission to enter Korea, he started the fire in a fit of rage.

A farmer in his 40s from Sanju, Gyeongbuk married a Cambodian woman [in Cambodia] last August. She was however denied entry to Korea since she failed the Korean language proficiency test.

Han Soonchul from Sangju, Gyeongbuk [said] “It’s difficult knowing that she can only come with me [in Korea] once she passes the test. My wife in Cambodia feels the same way and I miss her a lot.”

As of April last year, marriage immigrants must pass the beginner level of the Korean language proficiency test, or take a certain course to study the Korean language.

The government has revised the law due to high rates of domestic violence in multicultural families due to communication failures, as well as the high number of divorces, which are now over 10 thousand annually.

It has been estimated that there are about 1,000 foreign spouses who failed to enter Korea on account of not knowing the Korean language.

Representatives of international marriage agencies protested against this revised law in front of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.

Lee Jongchul, spokesman for the international marriage agency emergency planning committee said, “If we make it so a Korean must give up after going through the wedding ceremony and wedding registration, he ends up being a married man without a wife.”

Korean government announced that it is not planning to revise the law since a basic level of Korean proficiency is essential for raising a family.

Comments from Naver:


I agree with this because a marriage isn’t a product to buy and sell. If foreign spouses enter Korea not having a basic level of Korean language, it would be slow for them to adapt to Korea. It would be good if Korean citizenship is given to them if they’ve lived in Korea for over five years.


Is it possible to marry someone without being able to communicate? When you think about what caused the amendment to the law, I admit the revised law is certainly necessary.


Since a lot of fake marriages were really prostitution, I agree with this.


Those multicultural marriages are based on a money transaction so I think this measure is fair. To tell the truth, those Koreans basically just buy their spouses from Southeast Asia. What would people in there think about when they think about Korea?


A marriage isn’t a business. Human right activists will be against this. If somebody can’t speak Korean, it’s right to deny them entry to Korea, like other countries do. Do those people know that?


It’s good for that Vietnamese woman who couldn’t get into Korea, married to the man in his 60s. He set something on fire in a fit of rage, so that explains why he couldn’t get a woman even at over 60 years old.


Well done! Never amend that law again. It is impossible for Korean men in the countryside to be able to speak Southeast Asian languages fluently. Therefore to bring brides who don’t speak Korean means to buy them for sex and labor, and not consider issues of communication. A damn love without communication? And a man who set fire is over 60 years old. It makes me speechless.


The TV program ‘Love in Asia’ shows only the good side of international marriage. I hope [the government] makes it harder to become a Korean citizen.


In America, foreign spouses must meet language proficiency requirements, and also understand basic American laws and history. Needless to say, this is the right policy.


Unless foreign spouses have another purpose for marrying, they should be able to speak their spouses’ language.


A man in his 60s.. He has no conscience. If he is setting fires now, I assume he will get violent when he can’t communicate with someone.


Insane old people, why do you want foreign spouses? I know you want to buy foreign women and treat them as your slaves. I completely agree with this policy. If you aren’t good enough, just live your life alone. Don’t make lovely young girls from foreign countries sacrifice their lives.


It’s fun to see men in their 40s and 50s from the countryside who want an international marriage. Do they really need foreign brides? Young guys in their 20s and 30 scan’t marry because they don’t have any money or good jobs. They can’t see those people? If they are really in love with someone in a foreign country, this is acceptable. However, they shouldn’t do something so shitty like spending money on an arranged marriage. The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family did well this time. Do not change this law. Don’t give attention to people who want to buy a bride. Multicultural society? I understand a multicultural society that consists of love between couples. A multicultural society where people are bought and sold? Piss off.


It is absurd to marry someone a few days after the arranged meeting and to bring her to Korea. You can adopt your pet but not your wife.


This is a really good law. Members of the National Assembly did their jobs. I respect lawmakers who did a brilliant job.


If someone’s wife can’t speak Korean, let her husband take the test in her language to pass. Make bride-buying illegal. I don’t really feel bad for those brides who willingly come to Korea after getting married in Southeast Asia. But I feel sorry for the men and women from developed countries like Europe, Canada, and the United States who come to Korea to get married. I can imagine what they will face in the future, ke ke.


Wow, a man in his 60s?


Abolish multiculturalism! It’s sad to see Korea going the way of a failed state.


Isn’t it supposed to be like this? In other countries, if you want to obtain their citizenship, unless you were born in that country and have their nationality, there is a test you have to take on their language and culture.

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