Korea, Philippines agree to prevent illegally-brokered marriages
By Lee Hyo-sik
The government will offer language and other educational programs to Filipino women tying the knot with Korean men prior to their arrival here, to help them adapt to their new life in Korea.
This is part of an agreement between the two countries to stem “problematic” marriages between Korean men and Filipino women, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family said Monday.
Gender Equality and Family Minister Kim Kum-lae will sign a memorandum of understanding with Imelda Nicolas, chairwoman of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), at the ministry in Seoul at 11:30 a.m. today.
Under the agreement, the two countries will work together to crack down on illegally-brokered marriages and help migrant wives from the Southeast Asian country start a new life.
“An increasing number of Filipino women are settling down with Korean men. To help migrant wives adapt to the new environment here, we will offer them more education programs on the Korean language, culture and society in their home country,” Kim said.
In 2010, 1,906 Filipino women entered the country to marry Korean men, up from 980 in 2005. So far, a total of 12,000 migrant wives from the Philippines have settled down here, accounting for 5.7 percent of the total migrant wives population as of the end of 2011.
“We expect the agreement signed by both sides will help make marriages between Korean husbands and Filipino wives more successful and long-lasting. It will also improve the rights of migrant wives,” Kim said.
The two sides will hold a series of working-level talks to expand education and vocational programs for Filipino women, she said. Currently, Korea operates five education centers overseas for foreign women who are marrying Korean men, three in Vietnam and one each in the Philippines and Mongolia.
The two nations will boost the exchange of information on Korean grooms and Filipino brides, as well as clamp down on matchmaking agencies and brokers engaging in illicit activities to arrange marriages for greater profits.
Interracial marriages between Koreans and non-Koreans peaked at 42,356 in 2005, accounting for 13.5 percent of all newly married couples here.
Following a series of domestic violence cases against migrant wives the number of marriages has decreased since 2006. Some of the foreign wives were murdered by their abusive Korean husbands.
It has become more difficult for Korean men to tie the knot with foreign women as the government has introduced a set of regulations aimed at preventing “dubious” marriages.
Stricter rules have been imposed on issuing F-2 spouse visas, requiring future Korean husbands to take extensive educational courses to prepare for interracial marriages before inviting their foreign spouses to join them in Korea.
Those seeking a foreign spouse are also required to present certificates of their marital status, health, employment as well as criminal record when they sign up to find a wife through a marriage agency.