Foreigners can leave country without paying taxes

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Foreigners can leave country without paying taxes

By Kim Jae-heun

Foreigners will no longer be held back from leaving Korea for not paying taxes they owe here.

The Ministry of Justice said Friday it decided recently to accept a recommendation by the National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) to end its custom of banning foreigners from departure without legal basis over unpaid penalties.

Foreign children not registered to the local immigration office are also exempted.

The NHRCK's recommendation will take immediate effect within this year.

The Immigration Control Law has been limiting the exit of foreigners undergoing criminal trial or facing prison sentence. Those who have not paid a certain amount of their fines or surcharges are also subjected to a travel ban.

However, the NHRCK suggested freeing those who have been held without legal basis.

In one case last December, three young brothers and sisters aged one, three and seven years old were stopped at the airport for not having been registered as aliens at their birth here.

Foreigners under 17 years old have to apply for their stay or a guardian can apply for the permit by proxy in order to avoid a fine. When the three children were found to be unregistered, the MOJ held both parents and the children from departing at the airport.

The NHRCK claims a fine is an administrative order punishment, which does not provide a legal basis for limiting a foreigner's exit from the country if the payment is not made.


By Kim Jae-heun

Foreigners will no longer be held back from leaving Korea for not paying taxes they owe here.

The Ministry of Justice said Friday it decided recently to accept a recommendation by the National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) to end its custom of banning foreigners from departure without legal basis over unpaid penalties.

Foreign children not registered to the local immigration office are also exempted.

The NHRCK's recommendation will take immediate effect within this year.

The Immigration Control Law has been limiting the exit of foreigners undergoing criminal trial or facing prison sentence. Those who have not paid a certain amount of their fines or surcharges are also subjected to a travel ban.

However, the NHRCK suggested freeing those who have been held without legal basis.

In one case last December, three young brothers and sisters aged one, three and seven years old were stopped at the airport for not having been registered as aliens at their birth here.

Foreigners under 17 years old have to apply for their stay or a guardian can apply for the permit by proxy in order to avoid a fine. When the three children were found to be unregistered, the MOJ held both parents and the children from departing at the airport.

The NHRCK claims a fine is an administrative order punishment, which does not provide a legal basis for limiting a foreigner's exit from the country if the payment is not made.


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