has just made some very good points about a recent South Korean crackdown on foreign teachers teaching illegally. Apparently about seventy people have been arrested in the last few days; fifty of them were Canadians. These were people who were either (a) teaching (working) on a tourist visa, or (b) were forging diplomas in order to get jobs.
As someone with a pile of student loans, a future wife and family on the way, I have little sympathy for them. It's not hard to get a valid, working visa, and work for decent amount of money--if you're single. On the other hand, that five sevenths of these foreign illegals should be Canadian raises some troubling issues.
First, what is it about Canada that causes it to send so many of its young people overseas (some of them illegally)? I'd suggest two things: the high cost of tuition and jobless economy. Of course, I don't mean that last phrase literally; it is, however, notoriously difficult for university graduates to get good jobs. It is disturbing that the country whose growth is the envy of the G8 is unable or unwilling to put the conditions in place that would facilitate a reduction of the unemployment or underemployment rate.
Second, why does South Korea prohibit private tutoring? I have never
tutored privately because (a) I want to respect South Korean law, and (b), the consequences could be disastrous to my relationship with my fiancee. On the other hand, many people are tutoring privately because of (a) financial pressure from their student loans, and (b) because they can. Let's face it: student loans are a big reason for the presence of Canadian English teachers in this country. And I would say that I have more financial pressure than these Canadians due to my family situation, but they, being single, go laughing all the way to the bank, while, I, who sometimes feel like the only economically-honest foreign English teacher here, have to suffer. If the South Korean government would allow those here on legitimate working visas to tutor privately, I would most happily declare and pay taxes on that extra income that I wish I could be making.
Finally, what is it about South Korea that attracts these illegals? One never reads about problems like this in Japan. I suspect it is because Japan has a reputation for making its teachers wear suits! Since I already like wearing suits, I want to propose that South Korea only let foreigners enter if they are wearing suits at the airport and at their schools! Ok, that's tongue in cheek, but not entirely off the mark! ;-)