A modest proposal for visa reform
But the whole question of 'illegal' English teaching reminds me of a dark time in my own nation's history. A time when teaching blacks to read was punishable by a mobs wrath. A time when women were expected to do the housework - she didn't need to go to school, she needed to stay at home and make dinner!
The question, as I'd like to ask it, is this: why is teaching English illegal? For E-2 visa holders, teaching private lessons (or anywhere other than your sponsoring school) is illegal and theoretically punishable by a fine. Why has the act of teaching been made illegal? It's the very same reason tens of thousand of foreigners come to Korea - the same reason we choose to move halfway across the world.
Perhaps foreigners are guilty of the same thing many Koreans are: seeking out that edge to make our lives better. Is that truly a reason worth punishing them? As an E-2 visa holder, your first and foremost responsibility is to the school that's hired you, flown you halfway around the world, and is providing you a place to live. At the same time, it is one's constitutional right to "pursue happiness" (Article 10); it is also one's "right" and "duty" to work (Article 32).
My modest proposal is this: A citizen living in Korea on an E-2 visa shall have the right to work any job(s) they desire and are able to get, so long as:
- They are capable and / or qualified to do the job(s), according to their employer(s) and relevant government agencies.
- They are able to keep up their work performance at the work that brought them into Korea.
- The other job(s) do not interfere with or compete with the work that brought them into Korea.
- The other job(s) are not done while 'on the clock' of the work that brought them into Korea.
- The other job(s) are not illegal according to the Korean government.
This idea simply asks for the same freedoms other people have: the ability to work when and where one is able to find it - no 'permission slip' or restrictions needed. How is that wrong?
© Chris Backe - 2010
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