The Korea Herald

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Seoul to help foreign wives visit families

By Korea Herald

Published : Nov. 7, 2011 - 16:18

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The capital will pay for nearly 60 low-income multicultural families to visit the Philippines or Vietnam for family reunions.

Seoul Metropolitan Government says it will provide round trip tickets to 213 people from 59 families with wives from either Vietnam or the Philippines. They will leave Tuesday.

Also funding the seven-day trip will be Korea Airports Corp., which will provide expenses for the families who receive government support for basic necessities.

“I’ve always wanted to visit home, but because of financial reasons I was never able to, and I am glad that I will now be able to visit home,” said Lee Ji-yeon, a migrant wife from Hanoi, Vietnam.

This opportunity also gave Maribel Lonio a chance to visit her parents in the Philippines for the first time in more than eight years.

For the second time this year, the capital has provided foreign wives the opportunity to develop emotional stability, pride and successfully integrate into society, through relief in visiting loved ones, said city officials.

The city will send 41 people from twelve families to Hanoi, another 82 from 24 families to Ho Chi Minh City and 90 people from 23 families to Manila.

According to officials, multicultural families with ties to Vietnam and the Philippines were chosen because of the distance and the higher number of brides coming from there.

Priority was given to women who had not seen their parents in the past three years.

According to capital data, as of May this year there are 49,024 foreign spouses in Seoul. Vietnamese and Filipino spouses make up roughly 8.8 percent and 2.6 percent of the total, respectively, which are relatively high numbers, considering that Chinese spouses take up 72.7 percent.

By Robert Lee (robert@heraldcorp.com)