Vietnam, South Korea to curb visa brokering

By Viet Anh   November 1, 2019 | 03:31 am PT
Vietnam, South Korea to curb visa brokering
South Korean Ambassador to Vietnam Park Noh-wan speaks at a press meet in Hanoi, October 31, 2019. Photo by HV.
South Korea's ambassador to Vietnam said Thursday both countries are working to simplify procedures and prevent brokering of visas for unqualified people.

The exercise aims to prevent issuance of visas to people looking to overstay and work illegally in the country, Ambassador Park Noh-wan said.

"South Korea’s five-year visa policy for Vietnam could result in people staying in South Korea illegally. The two countries are considering simplifying visa issuance processes to prevent interference from middlemen (third parties that provide visas unofficially)," Park said at a press meet.

He was referring to a South Korean policy issued last year, allowing Vietnamese from Hanoi, Da Nang and HCMC to have C-3 visas, which would allow holders to stay in South Korea for up to 30 days with no restrictions on the number of visits for a period of five years.

The two countries are moving towards allowing visa exemption for their citizens, he added.

South Korea is one of the largest labor export markets for Vietnam. Its Yonhap News Agency reported that Vietnamese were the third largest group of foreign nationals in the country with 196,633 (8.3 percent) as of 2018.

Referring to Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc's planned participation in the upcoming ASEAN–Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit in Busan next month, Park said the two countries would discuss ways to boost diplomatic relations.

He said South Korea also cares about helping Vietnam avoid damage from economic conflicts, particularly the China-U.S. trade war, and sharing Vietnam's support for stability and freedom of navigation in the East Sea. The waterway is also known as South China Sea, where 90 percent of South Korea's energy import goes through.

Park Noh-wan took his position in Vietnam this month, after former Ambassador Kim Do-hyun was dismissed for violating anti-corruption laws. Park has had the experience of working in Vietnam as a diplomate for 11 years, including as the consul general in Ho Chi Minh City. 

He holds a bachelor’s degree in Vietnamese from South Korea, as well as a master’s degree in Vietnamese history and a PhD in International Relations in Vietnam. He’s been a diplomat since 1990, having worked in South Korea, China, France and Vietnam.

"What makes me the happiest is every time South Korean delegates visit Vietnam, they all treat me like I am Vietnamese," he said.

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