Korean Immigration and Integration Program (KIIP)
Historically, Korea has not been known as a country that welcomes immigrants. For the past 50+ years, the majority of foreign nationals who came to Korea came for a few years at most - missionaries, Peace Corps volunteers, businesspeople, English teachers and migrant laborers. That is no longer as much the case. Korea is now seeing a steady growth in people looking to put down roots here. Some of them marry Korean spouses, others come independently and invested here, while still others flee their home country and apply for asylum here.
Like many other countries before it, Korea has woken up to the fact that in order to keep social cohesion strong, there needs to be some process to assist new arrivals with integration. To that end, the Korea Immigration Service Foundation was established to, among other aims, assist citizens of other countries residing in Korea to feel at home here, which includes plans to develop better understanding of immigrant by Koreans and vice-versa.
The Korean Immigration and Integration Program (KIIP) is part of that plan. This program is designed and implemented by the Ministry of Justice, through its Social Integration Division. The program consists of two halves: Korean language training and Understanding Korean Society.
A pre-program level test is used to assess into which of 5 proficiency levels an applicant fits. The top level is exempt from having to do language classes, and may go directly to Understanding Korean Society. People who are “marriage immigrants” (spouses of Korean citizens) must complete at least the first two levels of language training (each level is 100 hours of instruction each, which amounts to about half a year), other immigrants must complete the first four levels.
After the language training, the Understanding Korean Society component is 50 hours of instruction over 12 weeks. At the end of this period, there is a test on knowledge of Korean society and culture. Participants that pass this receive a certificate, and can more easily get Korean citizenship.
Originally run in just 20 locations around the country, the program has expanded to over 70 venues in 2010. Currently, the program is voluntary, not mandatory, for those who wish to obtain Korean citizenship. Contrary to what had been expected, most participants are not spouses of Korean immigrants.
Visa status is not important in taking these courses – even students are eligible – as long as one is legal. Just apply to the local immigration office. There you will be tested on Korean language ability, and assigned to a class. TOPIK (Test of Proficiency in Korean) tests are held twice a year - in April and September.
Classes are free, and while it is expected that participants will be charged for texts in the near future, at the moment they are provided free of charge.
The website is in Korean only so here is a list of the KIIP offices around the country.
|Seoul||02-2650-6216||158-076||Seoul Yangcheon-gu Mokdong-dongno 121|
|Busan||051-461-3082||600-814||Busan Junggu Chungjangno 14|
|Incheon||032-890-6404||400-800||Incheon Junggu Hangdong 7-ga 1-31|
|Suwon||031-695-3821||441-340||Suwon Yeongtong-gu Yeongtong-dong 1012-6|
|Jeju||064-722-0080||690-800||Jeju Imhangno 277|
|Daegu||053-980-3559||701-040||Daegu Donggu Ansimno 117|
|Daejeon||042-220-2192||301-840||Daejeon Junngu Mokdong-gil 150|
|Yeosu||061-689-5517||555-110||Jeonnam Yeosu Museonno 267|
|Yangju||031-828-9487||480-848||Gyeonggido Yangju Deokgyedong 467-2|
|Gwangju||062-381-1345||502-838||Gwangju Seogu Hwajeongno 196|
|Changwon||055-240-8603||631-410||Gyeongnam Changwon Masan Habpo-gu Haeandaero 166|
|Chuncheon||033-269-3215||200-882||Gangwondo Chuncheon Dongnaemyeon Saam-gil 12|
|Cheongju||043-236-4905||361-825||Chungbuk Cheongju Hongdeok-gu Saeteo 1-gil 23|
|Jeonju||063-245-6164||561-211||Jeonbuk Jeonju Hoseongno 213|
|Ulsan||052-279-8027||680-802||Ulsan Gwangyeoksi Namgu Dodjillo 86 Samho Building Level 1|
More information can be found on the KIIP website, but in Korean only.
K4E Editor: Korea4Expats.com tries to ensure that the information we provide is accurate and complete, so should you notice any errors or omissions in the content above please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that government regulations and proceedures may have changed from what has been described above or may not apply in all situations/cases. K4E recommends that you check with the appropriate government office and/or officials prior to going forward.
Last Updated on 2014-03-08
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