South Korea’s Ministry of Justice has stopped free-visa entry for Egyptians, issuing a new policy starting from October 2018 requiring Egyptians get a pre-visa to enter the country, according to South Korean newspaper DONG-A ILBO.
The news report said that the decision was taken due to the rising number of Egyptians seeking Korean asylum. The Korean Ministry of Justice has stated that between January and May at least 276 people have filed asylum applications in South Korea with 112 of them being Egyptians.
Most of these asylum seekers were men ages between 20 to 30, who previously had no experience visiting foreign countries.
Since the South Korean government had started to open doors fir refugee applications in 1994 until 2017, Egyptian applications ranked third reaching 3,244, following the Chinese who filled 3,639 applications and Pakistanis with 4,268.
“This year, around half of the refugee applicants were Egyptians. If this trend continues, things will get out of control, so we’ve decided to change the current policy,” said a government official of South Korea to DONG-A ILBO.
An official from the Immigration & Naturalization Service at Incheon International Airport said that many of the Egyptians who fill an asylum application claim to have been forced to undergo criminal trials for their activities against the government, as they are members of the Muslim Brotherhood, yet they present fabricated documents;
“Verifying all the documents is costly in terms of human resources and money,” the source said.
The report said that the Korean government sees little backlash from the Egyptian counterpart, though its likely that the Egyptian government will change its visa policies with the South Korea and also demand a pre-visa permission.