The problem arose when the ministry and the immigration office abruptly began demanding the VSS document in September without notifying any of the parties concerned including the Canadian Embassy, teachers and local hagwon. Before that, Canadian teachers only needed a check from local or provincial police in Canada, which teachers can request while in Korea.
“Korean consulates in Canada suggested that we require the VSS from English teachers or teacher candidates,” said Kim Tae-soo, a deputy director at the Korean Immigration Service. “The VSS is very detailed.”
Kim explained that they decided to require the document because it shows records of crimes or drug use. He said in Canada, educational institutions require the document for those who work with children. Kim said the immigration office discussed whether to request this document with the Canadian Embassy in advance but did not notify the embassy that it had started implementing the policy.
“It was only an addition to the background check we have already adopted so we didn’t inform the Canadian Embassy,” Kim said.
Another problem with the VSS is that it is issued by different provinces in Canada that sometimes use different forms. The Korean immigration office has refused to accept applications from some provinces, such as British Columbia, that do not clearly show Vulnerable Sector Screening in large letters.
The recruiting manager said police in different towns and provinces in Canada should not issue a VSS if the teacher is not working with a “vulnerable” group or outside of Canada.
As an additional Catch-22, Canadian authorities do not accept fingerprints taken outside of Canada in processing VSS requests.
And Korean authorities won’t accept a background check by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, though it’s more extensive than a VSS check. The problem: the RCMP documents do not include the key letters VSS.
“The VSS is to be used in Canada. The Canadian Embassy recently stated that it is impossible to get a VSS from Korea or any country outside of Canada,” the recruiting manager said. “You must be in Canada to get it.”
This means that Canadian teachers currently in Korea need to fly back to Canada at a cost of thousands of dollars.
“Many people are simply giving up. They will go someplace else like Taiwan or Thailand,” the Canadian teacher said.
Canadian teachers recognize the need for background checks but they said they cannot understand the lack of communication between the Korean immigration office and the Canadian Embassy. They say the immigration office did not try to inform the teachers.
“Background checks are a good idea,” the recruiting manager said. “But when they implemented the change they didn’t inform the Embassy. Not everything on the Web site of the Korea immigration office is up to date,” he said.
Monday, November 10, 2008
More difficulties for Canadian English teachers in Korea.
A Joongang Ilbo article today looks at more paperwork Canadian applicants have to deal with before they can get an E-2 teaching visa. Korean Immigration has, since September 1st, been requiring Candian applicants to submit a Vulnerable Sector Screening test as part of the visas application process. Go and read the whole thing, but I'll just include an excerpt. But wait, before you do, see if you can answer this "True or False" question: Korean Immigration implemented new visa requirments for Canadian English teachers without informing the Canadian Embassy. From the article: