Korea and Myanmar Now Not as Far Apart

Good news for Korea and Myanmar.  Myanmar is anticipated to be a major investment destination for Korean companies.  Korean Air, realizing this trend, has launched the first non-stop flight from Korean to Yangon, Myanmar.  The flight will commence in early September of this year.   The flight time will, thus, be reduced from 10 hours to 6 hours. If the flight is well subscribed, expect Asiana Air to quickly follow suit.  _________ Sean Hayes, IPG’s Co-Chair of the Korea Practice Team, may be contacted at: [email protected]  IPG is engaged in projects for Korean and international clients in Myanmar and much of Southeast and East Asia. (c) Sean Hayes – SJ IPG. All Rights reserved.  Do not duplicate any content on this blog without the express written permission of the author. [email protected]

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Political Asylum Granted in U.S. to Former South Korean Intelligence Agent

A U.S. court has, recently, upheld a decision to grant political asylum to a South Korean former intelligence agent that revealed that the former Korean Dae-Jung KIM Administration paid a USD 500 million bribe to North Korea in exchange for North Korea hosting the inter-Korean summit between the decreased former leaders of North and South Korea. Dae-Jung KIM received the Nobel Peace Prize, primarily, because of the inter-Korean summit. Kim Ki-sam, who departed the Korean state spy agency in 2000, applied for asylum in the U.S. in 2003 out of fear of prosecution by the Korean authorities. Local news sources have reported that Mr. Kim has passed the New York bar exam. IPG has an active immigration practice for Korean and Chinese investors in the United States. The IPG was not involved in this present asylum matter. [email protected] (c) Sean Hayes – SJ IPG. All Rights reserved.  Do not duplicate

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Korean “Immigration Office” to be Established?

Korean newspapers have announced that the Korean government is beginning to explore the establishment of an “Immigration Office.” The Ministry of Strategy and Finance seems particularly keen to the proposal. The power to grant a visa in Korea is given to the Immigration Bureau with some authority given to Korean embassies abroad for matters of granting permission to enter the nation. The Immigration Service is under the auspices of the Ministry of Justice and embassies are under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Multiple government agencies are also authorized to formulate policy regarding immigration issues. The envisioned Immigration Office would seemingly take authority over all immigration issues from these multiple governmental offices. The Ministry of Strategy and Finance has recently expressed worries that decreases in the number of the most productive in society(mostly due to aging) is eroding the economy’s growth potential. Clearly, an increase in skilled foreign labor

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Sean Hayes quoted by Korea Times on D-8 Investment Visa

By Cathy Rose A. Garcia Korea Times (August 27, 2010) Foreign-owned restaurants and other businesses have been slowly popping up around Seoul in recent years. There have been a growing number of foreign entrepreneurs, who are living and doing business in Korea. Foreign entrepreneurs typically carry a D-8 corporate investor visa, which is obtained after investing a minimum of 50 million won ($42,000). But the government’s plan to double the minimum capital requirement for foreign direct investment (FDI) by October is expected to stifle the growth of foreign-owned small and medium enterprises (SME) in Korea. The Ministry of Knowledge Economy announced last month it revised the Foreign Investment Promotion Act to raise the capital requirement for D-8 corporate investor visa holders to 100 million won ($84,000) A spokesperson from the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said it was the right time to raise the minimum foreign investment requirement, considering the amount

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Korean Court Overturns Immigration’s Deportation Order

The Administrative Court in Incheon, Korea ruled in June of 2010 that a Chinese woman suspected of marrying a Korean national for the right to gain a Korean residency card (F-2-2 Visa) is not allowed to be deported on the sole grounds that both her former and present husbands were convicted of being involved in marriage fraud and the previous marriage ended only two months before the current marriage. The Chinese woman entered Korea with her previous Korean husband in 2006. The couple was divorced in 2008. The woman, then, married another Korean man, only two months after the divorce. Both the present and past husbands’ had been convicted of marriage fraud. The Court ruled that the evidence of previous and present husbands’ involvement in “sham marriages,” and a new marriage closely preceding a previous marriage are not adequate grounds, in of themselves, to deport. The Court also noted that

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Refugee Status Granted for Pakistani Homosexual

The Administrative Court in Seoul ruled that the Korean Ministry of Justice’s determination that a gay Pakistani did not have a “well-founded fear of being persecuted” was incorrect. The man’s “well-founded” fear, according to the Administrative Court, stems from his alleged homosexuality and fear of the Pakistani government and/or family members. Pakistani has laws that allow the punishment of openly homosexual individuals. The case can be appealed to the Supreme Court. To date, around 2,500 individuals have applied for refugee status in Korea and less than 150 of the applications have been approved. The approval rate in recent years is on the rise. Many of the petitioners apply only after being apprehended for immigration violations. The Ministry of Justice, since the Lee Administration, has dedicated more resources and attention to asylum seekers. The approval rate will likely rise, however, in these more unique of cases the Ministry is much less

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The Act on the Treatment of Foreigners in Korea

The Act on the Treatment of Foreigners in Korea may be found HERE. [email protected] (c) Sean Hayes – SJ IPG. All Rights reserved.  Do not duplicate any content on this blog without the express written permission of the author. [email protected]

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No American Law Firms in Korea – YET

Posted by:  Sean Hayes (Chair, Korea Practice Group at IPG)[email protected] _____________________ The KOR-EU FTA passed and thus British law firms will be able to setup shop in Korea over a five-year three-stage phase-in period.  All of the leading British firms have begun building relationships with an eye to formal partnerships.  KOR-US FTA, however, has stalled because of opposition of some prominent lawmakers in the liberal parties even though the two FTAs are very similar in scope. The following article is an interesting article on the intention of an American law firm in the Korean market and shows that local firms have nothing to fear and will benefit from these firms’ focus on quality, profitability per attorney and equitable management. Full Disclosure: We have not had a meeting with the firm mentioned in the article. _________IPG is engaged in projects for companies, entrepreneurs and individuals doing business in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Korea, Laos,

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Korea Immigration Service’s Immigration Logic: Appeared in the Korea Times by Sean Hayes

The following article appeared in the Korea Times on January 4, 2007 and was entitled Immigration Logic. The article was part of a column written by Sean Hayes. Immigration Logic An article entitled “Misunderstanding of the New E-2 Visa” appeared in The Korea Times on Dec. 27. An Immigration official, seemingly speaking for the Ministry of Justice, wrote the article.  He said that articles by “E-2 visa holding English teachers were shocking to my colleagues and myself who work in the Korea Immigration Service, the Ministry of Justice.” The article notes that Mr. David Louis Quick, and others, made “incorrect claims” in articles written and that “When one makes arguments, it is very easy for people to fall into the trap of emotional feelings and become very illogical, unless he is well trained in logical reasoning.”  The article continues, in this condescending tone, by stating that the author is “a

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Korean Foreigner’s land Aquisition Act (Enforcement Decree)

ENFORCEMENT DECREE OF THE FOREIGNER’S LAND ACQUISITION ACT INTRODUCTION Details of Enactment and Amendment – Enactment: This Decree was enacted to prescribe matters delegated by the Act on the Acquisition of Lands by Foreigners and their Management (Act No. 4726, Jan. 7, 1994) such as the detailed standards for land for actual use that may be acquired by foreigners and the procedures for such acquisition as well as those necessary for the enforcement thereof following the enactment of the said Act. The formerly executed Enforcement Decree of the Foreigner’s Land Acquisition Act (Cabinet Decree No. 645, Apr. 10, 1962) is repealed by the enactment of this Decree. – Amendment: This Decree has arrived at its present form as a result of being wholly amended on June 24, 1998 and being partly amended on December 30, 2002 and March 17, 2004. Accordingly, its title was changed to the Enforcement Decree of

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Korean Foreigner’s land Aquisition Act

FOREIGNER’S LAND ACQUISITION ACT INTRODUCTION Details of Enactment and Amendment – Enactment: This Act was enacted on January 7, 1994 as the Act on the Acquisition of Lands by Foreigners and their Management, in order to generally improve and supplement the previous system of land acquisition by foreigners, for example, by allowing foreigners and foreign enterprises easier acquisition of land needed for their business affairs. With the enactment of this Act, the Foreigner’s Land Acquisition Act previously in enforcement (September 18, 1961, Act No. 718) was repealed. – Amendment: This Act has arrived at its present form as a result of being wholly amended on May 25, 1998 and being amended in part on January 21, 1999, February 9, 2004 and December 31, 2004. Consequently, the title of the Act has been changed to the Foreigner’s Land Acquisition Act, and activation of investment by foreigners is aimed for by overall

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Korean Foreign Investment Promotion Act

FOREIGN INVESTMENT PROMOTION ACT INTRODUCTION Details of Enactment and Amendment – Enactment: This Act was enacted on September 16, 1998 as Act No. 5559, repealing the previously enforced Foreign Investment and Foreign Capital Inducement Act, in order to widely ease the regulations and restrictions on investment by foreigners and expand the tax incentives therefor, and to reorganize from all sides the systems related with foreign investment such as designation of foreign investment zones. – Amendment: This Act has taken its present form after going through the amendments of 3 occasions (excluding the amendments by other Acts) since its enactment. Those matters concerning tax benefit which were provided in this Act are provided in the Restriction of Special Taxation Act by the amendment (on May 24, 1999) of the Government Organization Act resulting in the alteration of government organization. Main Contents – Any foreigner who intends to make an investment in

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Visa for Investors in Korea (D-8 Visa): KRW 100,000,000 Minimal Investment

In order to ensure that the visa is issued in a timely manner and not turned down (difficult to overturn a determination of immigration without litigation) it is advisable to hire an attorney when applying for a D-8 Investment Visa.  The following was drafted by KOTRA (http://english.kotra.or.kr/wps/portal/dken)___________________________Visa for Business Investors (D-8) The visa can be issued for: Specialists engaged in business management, production or technological sector of an FDI company supported by the Foreigner Investment Promotion Act (not including those recruited in Korea). “Specialists” refers to the following: Executives: Those primarily responsible for the organizational management within a business organization, exercising a wide range of rights in the decision making process, and only generally supervised and directed by the Board of Directors and shareholders as the highest ranking members of the organization (not those directly engaged in the provision of the service). Senior Managers: Those responsible for the establishment and execution of

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Korean Investment Visa for Foreigners

Foreign investor’s visa Question: I am a foreigner and I am thinking of starting a small business in South Korea. Is it possible to get a visa or do I need to be sponsored by a Korean company or partner? Foreign investors are eligible to obtain a D-8 residence visa provided they meet certain criteria. To qualify, an employee of a foreign company or an individual must establish a company in Korea or enter into a joint partnership with a Korean firm and invest over 50 million won in the project. The types of foreign investment generally allowed are foreign direct investment (FDI), portfolio establishment, branch establishment, legal entity establishment, factory establishment, real estate acquisition and investment in infrastructure. However, the kind of business does not matter as long as the company acquires a registration certificate of foreign investment from either a Korean bank or the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency

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Kwangju Mayor’s Case Not Planned

Kwangju Mayor’s Case Not Planned Korea Times 11-14-2005 by Sean Hayes Dear Attorney Hayes: Why did a San Francisco Airport search for over an hour a mayor of a major Korean city? Is this just the U.S. trying to punish Koreans for not permissively following America? If the mayor is treated like this how will an average citizen be treated? From Worried and Angry in Yosu. Dear Worried: According to Kwangju Mayor Park Gwang-tae, on Wednesday morning, the mayor and 18 members of his entourage were delayed in a San Francisco Airport for over an hour and a half. All members’ bags and personnel belongings were thoroughly searched. The group was visiting the U.S. to pitch investment opportunities in the Kwangju area. The mayor, after and during the screening process, was furious and called for the U.S. to withdraw patriot missiles from the Kwangju area, for the U.S. government to

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Sham Marriage in Land of the Free

Sham Marriage in Land of the Free Dear Attorney Sean Hayes: I am a Korean wife of an American contractor who wants to divorce me. I have a conditional permanent residency based on marriage that allows me to stay in the U.S. I am concerned that after divorcing I will lose my permanent residency. Can I get divorced and retain my permanent residency if my husband doesn’t sign a petition to remove the conditions on residency? Concerned in Seoul Dear Concerned: The Legal Permanent Residency (LPR) status, based on marriage, must be based on a bona fide or good faith marriage. In order to assist immigration to determine that the marriage is bona fide, Congress wrote a special provision in the law that makes the LPR status based on marriage “conditional’’ for the first two years of marriage. Before the end of the two-year conditional period, the couple must file

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Immigrating to the U.S.

Appeared in the Korea Herald Jan. 31, 2004 Legal Ease Column by Sean Hayes Dear Sean: I’m an American citizen who married a Korean national three years ago. We intend to move to the U.S. this year. What is the most expedient way to navigate the complicated process? Bewildered in Seoul. Dear Bewildered: The process to obtain a “green card” (permanent residency) for your spouse seems to be a daunting one, but with a little patience, a lot of time, and the willingness to jump through some often useless hoops you will succeed in your endeavor. Few applicants that are “immediate relatives” of U.S. citizens that properly fill-out all forms, have an adequate source of income, and have not violated and laws or previously been expected of filing false information to the U.S. government are denied the benefit of a green card. “Immediate relatives” of a U.S. citizen refers to

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Canadian Ambassador Claims English Teachers not Exploited

An article in the Korea Herald on the March 23rd reports on the Canadian Ambassador’s claims that English teachers are not exploited in Korea, and that a liaison for English teachers is not needed in Korea. The reporter questions whether he has enough experience to really know. Interesting article. English teachers not exploited: envoy To the best of his knowledge, rife exploitation of English teachers by unscrupulous school directors does not exist in Korea, and there does not seem to be a need for a designated liaison for disgruntled English teachers at the embassy, Canadian Ambassador Marius R. Grinius said in an interview with The Korea Herald. “I do meet a lot of teachers and I have yet to meet somebody that said to me, ‘I have a really serious problem.’ It hasn’t happened to me yet,” said the ambassador. “The overwhelming experience (of English teachers) is positive; yet, unscrupulous

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25 instructors booked for fake diplomas

Korea Times March 21, 2007 Police yesterday booked 25 instructors at private institutes in Seoul on charges of forging their college diplomas. The National Police Agency sought an arrest warrant for the director of an institute in Seodaemun-gu, northwestern Seoul, while the rest are being investigated without detention. The 40-year-old director, identified as Lee, is accused of paying 5 million won ($5,300) to a broker in December 2004, and receiving five copies of diplomas from Seoul National University. Police said that since 1999 Lee had fraudulently claimed that he was an SNU graduate and taught Korean and comprehensive writing. He also accepted forged diplomas from 20 teachers he hired, earning a total 620 million won. “We’ve investigated 4,500 teachers at private institutes in Seoul who claimed to have graduated from Seoul National University, Korea University and Yonsei University, and found out that 25 of them were fakes,” a police investigator

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Koreans Likely to Enjoy US Visa Waiver Program

South Koreans may be able to travel to America without a visa if a Sept. 11 reform bill becomes law in the United States. The chances of Korea entering the U.S. visa waiver program has increased after the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved the bill Tuesday. “If the bill becomes law, there would be a higher possibility that South Koreans could travel to the U.S. freely without a visa,’’ an immigration expert said. U.S. senators voted 60 to 38 for the security reform bill containing a provision enabling U.S. President George W. Bush to fulfill his promised expansion of the visa waiver program. Under current American law, countries wanting to participate in the program are required to have a less than a 3 percent refusal rate on their U.S visa applications. South Korea has failed to join the program because its refusal rate on U.S. visa applications is above 3 percent.

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