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Seoul announces incentives for vaccinated overstayers

 
Seoul, Oct 8 (IANS) People staying illegally in South Korea who want to leave the country voluntarily after completing Covid-19 vaccination will be given various incentives, including exemption from fines, the Ministry of Justice said on Friday.

The government will waive fines and suspend re-entry restrictions for fully vaccinated illegal stayers choosing to voluntarily depart from South Korea between October 12 and December 31, Yonhap News Agency quoted the Ministry as saying.

The latest measure is part of the Seoul government's efforts to boost the Covid-19 vaccination rate among migrant workers here who are reluctant to get the jab due to fears of a possible crackdown.

The government has imposed a fine of up to 30 million won ($25,140) depending on the period of illegal stay for illegal aliens who voluntarily leave the country.

Those who refuse to pay the fine are prohibited from re-entering the country for at least one year to a maximum of 10 years.

Incentives are granted even if 14 days have not passed since the completion of the vaccination and an electronic or paper certificate must be submitted to prove the inoculation, the ministry explained.

But illegal stayers who are not vaccinated by the end of this year, criminal offenders and illegal immigrants who are busted or transferred from police custody will still be subject to the same fines and re-entry restrictions as before, it said.

The government has urged all foreigners staying long-term here to get free Covid-19 vaccine shots as soon as possible, saying they are treated the same as South Korean nationals when it comes to the vaccination process.

It also allows undocumented foreigners to simply and anonymously take free Covid-19 tests at any testing centre after providing just their mobile phone numbers.

--IANS
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