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Afghan evacuees arriving in S. Korea to be housed in Jincheon County, eligible for long-term visas Updated: 2021-08-26 17:15:11 KST

The Afghan evacuees who arrived in South Korea just a few hours ago will be temporarily staying at a state-run facility in Jincheon county, located about 90 kilometers southeast of Seoul.
Our Bae Eun-ji is at the site.
So Eun-ji, how long will they be staying at the facility?
And has the government granted them long-term stay permits yet?

Well Connyoung, this building behind me is where the Afghan evacuees will be staying, for around 6 to 8 weeks.
They will be staying here at the National Human Resources Development Institute, a state-run facility located at Jincheon County, Chungcheongbukdo Province.
They haven't arrived yet but as soon as their PCR tests come back as negative, they will leave Incheon International Airport and travel 150 kilometers to where I'm standing right now.
Last year, this same facility was used as a quarantine center for Koreans that were evacuated from Wuhan, China at the start of the pandemic.
The Afghan evacuees will be placed under self-quarantine for two weeks here.
And although they were tested for COVID-19 upon arrival, they will have two additional PCR tests during their quarantine period.
Also, 10 healthcare workers and 40 officials from the justice ministry will be staying here to help them settle.
As for their visa status, the foreign ministry said the Afghans will not be given refugee status, but instead will be treated as people with "special merit."
They will initially be given a short-term visa that allows them to stay in Korea for 90 days.
After that visa expires, the justice ministry decided Thursday to revise the law and grant the evacuees long-term stay permits.

"We plan on giving them F-2 visas which would allow them to work, and financially support themselves without any restrictions. But we need to revise the law to do this, and we're currently working on that."
" (F-2) . , , ."

With the visa, they will be able to stay in the country for up to 5 years and even gain permanent residency permits after undergoing some procedures.

It's good to hear that so much humanitarian support is being given to them.
How are local residents in Jincheon responding to housing Afghan refugees there?

Most of the local residents seem to be welcoming the Afghans staying here in Jincheon.
Especially given the fact that there are around a hundred young children, these residents are ready to welcome them with open arms.
Some residents were even holding up a banner that read "Welcome to Korea, the country of Freedom and Peace."
But at the same time, there were fears that there might be Taliban members included in the incoming group.
This comes as an Afghan, who evacuated to France, was recently arrested, suspected of having links to the Taliban.
In response, government officials reassured locals that there is no need to worry, as they have completed the screening process to confirm the identities of the evacuees.
That's all I have for now at this hour.
Back to you, Connyoung.
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