The Immigration Service must obey the courts and guarantee MTU President's residence status!

The Seoul Immigration Service has made yet another outrageous move in its campaign against the Migrants Trade Union (MTU) and MTU President Michel Catuira. On March 17, the immigration authorities notified MTU President that his application for the extension of his visa had been denied because he has supposedly used 'dishonest means' to obtain the visa. Further, the immigration authorities ordered President Catuira to leave South Korea by March 31 or face deportation. This move comes in spite of the fact that on March 2, the 12th Seoul Administrative Court issued an injunction against the execution of previously issued immigration measures, including the cancellation of President's visa and an order of departure, until the trial appealing them was completed.

Under South Korea's Employment Permit System, migrant workers' visas are dependent on their being employed. MTU President's original visa was originally valid until March 7 based on his employment contract, but the Labor ministry cancelled his employer's permit to hire migrant workers and then immigration cancelled his visa as well. MTU filed a lawsuit against the cancellation of President's visa with the Seoul Administrative Court which, recognizing their execution would likely hamper a fair trial, issued the injunction against them as stated above. Upon inquiry after this decision, the Immigration Service told MTU President he should apply for an extension of his original visa to cover the period of time granted him to find a new workplace (until April 3). Extension of visas for EPS workers during this sort of job-hunting period is routine. Extensions are usually granted on the day for which they are applied. However, MTU President was forced to wait two weeks after he applied on March 4. Then finally, after this excessive delay, the Immigration Service notified him the extension had been denied.

The Immigration Service's actions are clearly nothing more than a stubborn attempt to deny MTU President's residence status at any costs and, by doing so, attack the Migrants Trade Union and repress migrant workers' labor rights. What is more this attack is in clear violation of a just ruling made in a South Korean court of law. The fact that the Seoul Immigration Service, a government agency under the Ministry of Justice, would do such a thing is not only infuriating, it defies the imagination.

We condemn the Seoul Immigration Service's actions in the strongest of term and demand that the immigration authorities follow the court decision and restore MTU President's residence status immediately. We also proclaim that we will use all means within our powers to fight this attack on President Michel, which is an attack on MTU, on South Korean migrant workers and, finally on all South Korean workers.