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Subject  Gov't expands counseling service for non-Korean spouses, students
Name  HiKorea
Image   Gov't expands counseling service for non-Korean spouses, students image

A Korean mother-in-law who recently had a new Cambodian daughter-in-law was not happy with her, as she often tapped her husband on the shoulder. A counselor, however, was able to explain to the mother-in-law that her daughter-in-law’s behavior is a form of agreeing with her husband.

The counselor helped the Korean mother-in-law to understand over the phone. She told her of her own experiences, that she was also scolded on occasion from her in-laws for the same reason when she was first married to her Korean husband and lived together with her new family. The counselor explained that Cambodian culture is different from Korean culture, as the country is based on a traditionally matriarchal system whereas Korea is patriarchal. The counselor also noted to the Korean mother-in-law that Cambodian women are as good and diligent as Korean women.

This is one of the telephone counseling episodes offered by the Immigration Contact Center, part of the Ministry of Justice. It is a tailored counseling service that targets so-called marriage immigrants, people who married a Korean and settled in the country immediately upon marriage. Under the service, counselors from the same country as the spouse explain over the phone cultural differences, immigration procedures or other helpful pieces of advice for living in Korea. They listen to the difficulties of adapting to life in Korea and provide help and advice.


Counselors at the Immigration Contact Center provide telephone counseling services. A total of 93 staff members, all from overseas, including some marriage immigrants and students studying overseas in Korea, provide advice over the phone from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. in up to 20 languages during weekdays.

The Immigration Contact Center is part of the Ministry of Justice. It works on as many as 1.2 million cases per year, counseling people on immigration issues and providing other pieces of useful information to non-Korean residents of Korea.


There are three tiers of counseling service available. At the first tier, those who need advice can simply talk to a counselor. The center provides services in up to 20 languages. If they need further assistance, the center provides a second tier of service, connecting them directly to immigration center officers for a more in-depth consultation. At the third tier, a counselor would call the service recipient directly to provide advice.

Established in March 2008, the Immigration Contact Center provides up to 1.2 million cases of telephone counseling per year, giving advice on immigration or other useful information for non-Korean residents of the country. The center has a total of 93 staff members who can provide services in up to 20 languages during the weekdays.

Services range from immigration information and three-way interpreting services to customized services for multicultural families. Those who wish to receive the service can call 1345 from everywhere in Korea, without an area code.

Information about immigration and other enquiries about living in Korea can also be made at the government's e-government homepage targeted at non-Koreans living in Korea, Hi Korea (


By Yoon Sojung Staff Writer
Photos: Ministry of Justice




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