S. Korea tightens checks on foreign marriages

TN News

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South Koreans seeking foreign brides will in future undergo stricter screening and must take a special education course in an attempt to curb abuses, the justice ministry said Wednesday.

Calls for reform intensified last year, when a mentally disturbed man fatally stabbed his 20-year-old Vietnamese bride eight days after she arrived to live with him.

The government has intensified monitoring of matchmaking agencies and expanded counselling for foreign wives.

From next month, prospective husbands will have to present a financial statement and verify their marital status, especially whether they had invited overseas brides more than twice in the past five years.

Would-be grooms will have to take courses on international marriage.

"Although the matter of marriage lies in the personal arena, false and speedy international marriages are intertwined with social problems," ministry official Son Hong-Ki told Yonhap news agency.

"The specific legal guidelines on international marriages will help create healthy multicultural families."

South Korea, once a racially homogeneous society, is seeing more and more international marriages -- especially by farmers as single Korean women move to the cities.

One out of every 10 marriages in 2009, or 33,300 out of 309,759, were international marriages, mostly between Korean men and women from China, Vietnam and the Philippines.

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