SEOUL, Jul. 11 (Korea Bizwire) — The Supreme Court ruled that a recently divorced female immigrant can extend her visa status as a married immigrant by proving that the Korean ex-husband was ‘mainly responsible’ for the divorce.
The court overruled a previous decision on a case filed by a Vietnamese woman against Seoul Southern Immigration Office on Wednesday, bringing a legal victory to the Vietnamese national.
The Vietnamese woman, who married a Korean in December 2015, successfully filed for divorce in January 2017.
She had been subject to various forms of abuse, including severe pressure from her mother-in-law who forced her to work at a convenience store during her pregnancy which ended in a miscarriage.
She filed a lawsuit against the immigration office in May 2017 after being denied an extension of her visa status as a married immigrant, based on the reasoning that “there was no evidence of her ex-husband being ‘fully responsible’ for the divorce.”
Lower instances ruled that the Vietnamese woman is “also partially responsible for the divorce,” and denied an extension of her current visa status.
The court, however, found that the ruling was unfair to the immigrant.
“If we allow visa extension only in extreme cases where the Korean husband is fully responsible for the divorce, the immigrant will be discouraged from exercising her right to legally resolve her marital relationship,” said the Supreme Court.
“Also, such a decision would encourage the Korean spouse to resort to harsher treatment of the immigrant partner.”
“Our decision is to protect the human rights of married female immigrants who face deportation after divorcing their husbands who abused them,” a Supreme Court official explained.
H. M. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)