No More E-6 Visas for Foreign Dancers

Each year, hundreds of foreign women arrive in South Korea seeking employment as dancers or performers. Now, reports have surfaced of women promised decent jobs and then forced to become bar hostesses or perform sexual acts. As a result, the South Korean government has decided to cancel visas for women who plan to dance at nightspots, but not in stage arts performances. Still, the government may not have the proper staff to detect illegitmate visa applications. And will this cut down on the exploitation of women? – YaleGlobal

No More E-6 Visas for Foreign Dancers

Kim Kyung-ho
Thursday, February 27, 2003

The Ministry of Justice has decided to stop issuing E-6 visas to foreign women seeking entry for employment as dancers at cabarets and other night spots, ministry officials said yesterday.

The ministry made the decision after holding a meeting Tuesday with officials from other government agencies to discuss measures to prevent the abuse of foreign women working at bars and clubs, they said.

A ministry official said that foreign dancers will eventually be excluded from the list of categories eligible for E-6 visa issuance.

He said a few exceptions could be considered in the case of foreign dancers visiting deluxe hotels or qualified art troupes.

The measure is the latest in a series of steps the ministry has taken to tighten guidelines on issuing E-6 visas for visits that fall under the umbrella of arts and performances.

Public criticism has mounted that local entertainment firms have exploited the lax requirements and procedures involved in getting E-6 visas to bring in foreign women from Russia, the Philippines and other countries for employment at bars, nightclubs and other night spots.

In many cases, foreign women entering Korea with such visas arranged by local entertainment companies believe they have come to stage performances but end up serving as bar hostesses.

A disclosure early this month of petitions by more than 20 Russian women who were made to serve Korean men at bars and sometimes forced to engage in sexual liaisons has prompted public anger and calls for stricter requirements for E-6 visas.

In the wake of a public outcry over the abuses of the Russian women, who were later permitted to return home, the Ministry of Justice announced plans to push for a legal amendment that would enable the Labor Ministry to replace the Culture and Tourism Ministry by taking responsibility for granting or rejecting E-6 visas to foreign visitors.

Under the current rules, foreigners recommended by a committee under the Culture and Tourism Ministry are issued with E-6 visas. The committee has been criticized for automatically recommending any foreigners applying for the visas through local entertainment companies.

Justice Ministry officials said the transfer of the deliberation work on E-6 visa issuance is needed because the committee is understaffed and not experienced enough to recognize illegitimate applications for the visas.

A ministry official said despite the measure to cancel future E-6 visas for foreign women who wish to dance at night spots, the visas will continue to be issued for foreigners seeking entry to stage arts performances.

ⓒ Copyright 2002 Digital Korea Herald. All rights reserved


I hope korean government will totally banned E6. True enough those performers from Russia, China, Philippines etc are for sure doing or becoming hostesses that most probably are doing sexual favor as well even at their own will. Not good.

E6 visa has its own proper space. One thing is sex traffickers using any kind of visa for prostitution, and another thing is the validity of the visa. Korea is THE country that taught the world how to do cultural enterprises, and recognizing its capabilities in hallyu production is key: people now visit Korea exploring Kpop, but also looking for drama writers, choreographers, brand overseas selling amd performing arts studies.

Suggesting eliminating this visa is like not selling salt because it can cause high blood pressure.