MTU Welcomes the Seoul Administrative Court’s Injunction against Enforcement of Immigration Measures against MTU President Michel Catuira


Seoul-Gyeonggi-Incheon Migrants Trade Union (MTU)


The courts have put the brakes unjust immigration measures taken against MTU Michel Catuira by the Seoul Immigration Service. This victory would not have been possible without the solidarity and support shown by friends and allies in South Korea and abroad.

On Wednesday, March 2, the Seoul 12th Administrative Court issued a ruling in favor of MTU’s application for an injunction against immigration measures enforced by the Seoul Immigration Service against MTU President Michel Catuira, including, the cancellation of his ‘permission for change of workplace’ and ‘permission for extension of stay‘ (visa) and the order to leave the country by March 7. According to the court, suspension of these measures was “urgently necessary to prevent damages difficult to correct” that would be caused to President Catuira should the measures be carried out.


The court’s ruling will only prevent execution of the said immigration measures until a decision in MTU’s suit appealing them is reached. Nonetheless, we welcome it as an unprecedented occurrence. In the past, many MTU leaders were targeted by the immigration authorities, who used their undocumented states as a pretext to arrest them. In these cases, the immigration authorities hurriedly executed deportation orders even before the decisions on applications for injunctions were announced.


Criticism of the Immigration Service’s actions has been strong within and outside of South Korea from the time the aforementioned measures were first initiated in a clear effort to stifle MTU’s union activities. In South Korea, supporters organized a press conference to expose the Immigration Service’s intentions and carried out 1 person protests in downtown Seoul. 1,200 social leaders and other concerned individuals submitted petitions to the court on President Catuira’s behalf. In the international arena, Amnesty International and the Asian Human Rights Commission initiated urgent appeal campaigns and countless organizations and individuals sent protest letters to the South Korean authorities. In Hong Kong, the Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM) and the Indonesian Migrant Workers Union (IMWU) held a solidarity rally in front of the South Korean Consulate. We are quite sure that the court’s ruling reflects the impact of these actions. We wish to express our sincere gratitude to the many organizations and individuals who have given us their support.

Now, more than ever, it is time for the Ministry of Justice and the Immigration Service to end their worn-out pattern of repression against migrant workers’ organizing and recognize their right to unionize.


The Seoul 12th Administrative Court’s ruling is attached below.


Seoul 12th Administrative Court


Case 2011ah487 Suspension of Administrative Measures


Defendant: Chief of the Seoul Immigration Office



The defendant will suspend enforcement of the following administrative measures enacted against the applicant on 10 February 2011: cancellation of permission for change of workplace, cancellation of permission for extension of stay, order of departure.



Based on evidence submitted by the applicant, I find that suspension of the aforementioned measures is urgently necessary to prevent damages difficult to correct from incurring to the applicant as a result of their execution, and, on the other hand, that there is no evidence that suggests that the suspension of the execution of the aforementioned measures would have a grave negative impact on the public welfare. I, therefore, rule as ordered above in accordance with Article 23 of the Administrative Litigation Act.


Presiding Judge