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http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/na ... 51009.html
Average Interracial Marriage Costs W13 Million ($10,600 USD)
By Kwon Mee-yoo
Korean spouses have spent an average 13 million won ($10,600) in costs for interracial marriages, the Korea Consumer Agency (KCA) said Monday after surveying 266 matchmaking agencies.
"We conducted a survey of 1.044 companies but only 266 of them properly answered. The rest of them are marginal ones,'' said Choi Eun-sil of the KCA.
Interracial marriages in Korea are increasing year by year, from 4,710 in 1990 to 36,204 in 2008. More than 28,000 Korean men married foreign spouses last year, more than double (correction: triple) the 8,000 Korean women who married expatriate men.
The most popular country of origin for interracial spouses was Vietnam followed by China.
It takes an average of 88 days, or about three months, to complete an interracial marriage through agencies ― from the Korean applicant's departure to interview with his or her prospective spouse and their entry here.
The average annual sales of these matchmaking agencies were 48 million won, but more than one third of them earned less than 10 million won last year.
The companies consulted in an average of 18 cases per month, but succeeded in matchmaking only 9 couples a year.
Many of these enterprises are small or marginal businesses with an average of 2.15 employees.
The KCA held a hearing on interracial matchmaking businesses last week and suggested stronger supervision.
The Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs runs a program to help prospective married immigrants adapt to Korean life.
The program was first started in Mongolia last year and 106 out of the 173 who gained Korean visas completed the program.
It teaches basic Korean, culture and life skills to married immigrants waiting for their visas to be approved.
``The Mongolian government now requires all married immigrants who apply for Korean visas to take the course,'' said Lee Sun-ju of the ministry. ``We now offer the program in Mongolia, Vietnam and the Philippines and will provide it in Cambodia soon.''
The Corporation Aggregate Korea Multicultural Matrimonial Association said that the biggest problem in the industry is illegal agencies both in Korea and the involved countries.
"These unlawful companies illegally publish photos of foreign women in Web site and it causes disputes over the right to their likeness," an organization official said. "The government should crack down on these illegal agencies and Internet portal sites should not run advertisements for them."
For better interracial matchmaking, the association aims to increase international cooperation. "Currently, interracial marriages though matchmaking companies are illegal in partner countries. But they are approved by tacit consent and Korean consuls issue visas for married immigrants," the official said. "We are trying to sign some accords with countries such as Vietnam and Cambodia for better matchmaking."
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