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Presidential candidates propose independent overseas Korean agency Updated: 2022-01-20 10:28:02 KST

For 7.3 million South Koreans living overseas,… dealing with government services is not as easy as in their home country.
They have to use different ministries for different services.
Passport issuance at the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Entry and departures at the Justice Ministry.
Taxes at the National Tax Service.

That's why they've called on the government to launch an "overseas Koreans agency" where all these services can be provided at once.
It's also one of the major reasons why they will be heading to polls to vote in the upcoming presidential election.

"A lot of overseas Korean policies can change depending on who becomes the new president. With an Overseas Korean Agency as our key agenda, we sent each candidate a petition signed by some 4-thousand people calling for its establishment."

Many overseas Koreans believe that the current "Overseas Koreans Foundation" run by the foreign affairs ministry falls short in its capacity and that a more independent organization is needed.
The World Korean Community Leaders Convention has delivered multiple resolutions calling for that to the Blue House and the National Assembly.

Those efforts did help initiate related discussions.
Nine bills have been submitted proposing either a ministry, an agency or a presidential committee.
Also, former President Park Geun-hye and the incumbent Moon Jae-in both proposed it in their pledges.
However, no progress has been made so far.

"Among bills on overseas Koreans, there was much attention on the need for establishing an agency. I ask your opinion on lack of progress and its need."

"I believe it is the time when there needs to be a control tower. With related bills having been submitted by both rival parties I anticipate something could be achieved in the next administration."

Their concerns seem to be reflected in the pledges made by candidates in this election.
Democratic Party's Lee Jae-myung proposed an agency to provide comprehensive services.
The People Power Party's Yoon Suk-yeol proposed merging the agency with the existing Overseas Koreans Foundation.
Sim Sang-jung from the Justice Party also made a similar promise.
And the People's Party's Ahn Cheol-soo vowed to launch a presidential committee first, then an agency.

"No details have been released by the candidates but the first step would be changing the law to lay the legal foundations.
But it remains to be seen whether whoever gets elected can finally make an actual push for that.
Lee Kyung-eun, Arirang News."
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