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South Korea grants temporary stay permits to 339 Yemeni refugees

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SEOUL (Xinhua) – South Korea yesterday granted temporary stay permits to 339 Yemeni refugees who have stayed in the country’s southern resort island of Jeju from the first half of this year, local media said citing the justice ministry.

A total of 481 Yemenis sought asylum in the country after arriving in the island this year. Among them, 23 refugees were already given the humanitarian stay permits last month.

The immigration office of the Jeju island granted 339 Yemenis the humanitarian stay permits, which require the re-deliberation every year for an extended stay, rather than an official refugee status.

The permits were given as the asylum seekers could be at risk if deported. With the permits, the 339 Yemenis are allowed to leave the island for other parts of the country.

Refugee applications from 34 Yemenis were rejected as they either faced criminal charges or sought asylum for an economic purpose though they can stably live in other countries.

The remaining 85 applications were deferred as the cases require further deliberations.

The arrival of the Yemeni refugees in the island sparked controversy in the country as some locals worried that it may increase social problems such as less job openings for local residents.

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