South Korea imposes new restrictions on marriages to foreigners
Published on Apr 10, 2014 12:07 PM
SEOUL (AFP) - South Korea imposed new restrictions on mixed marriages this month, but critics say the authorities would do better to focus on supporting foreign spouses who struggle to assimilate in one of Asia's most ethnically homogenous societies.
An influx of foreign brides - overwhelmingly from other Asian countries - began in earnest in 2000 and peaked in 2005 when more than 30,000 were given resident-through-marriage visas.
The trend was triggered by the large numbers of young, rural women leaving to find work and a new life in Seoul and other South Korean cities, leaving behind male-dominated communities with not enough potential wives to go around.
Since 2000, 236,000 foreign women have settled in South Korea through marriage, giving birth to about 190,000 children, according to data compiled by state-run Statistics Korea.
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