BRIEF ON CONSULAR MATTERS
1. India and the Republic of Korea (ROK) established full-fledged diplomatic relations in 1973. Since then the relationship has expanded manifold and become one of the most important ones for both countries.
2. With CEPA (Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement) coming into force from 01 Jan 2010 and several high level visits including the PM’s visit in May 2015 during the year, bilateral ties have received a great boost and is reflected in increased travel in both directions as well as the volume of consular services.
3. In 2015, a total of 46118 visas were issued by the Mission. In addition, after the introduction of e-TouristVisa for Korean nationals, many a visitors prefer to obtain their visa electronically. Besides, given the fact that most of the visa issued are multiple entry visa, actual number of travellers between the two countries appears to be growing.
4. Out of the total visas issued by the Mission - 53% were Tourist, 35% Business, 1.7% Employment, 2.5% Student, and 7.8% others. During the period M/s VFS Global Services Ltd. continued to function as the Visa Outsourcing Service provider.
5. The Mission also provided various consular services to the Indian community in the Republic of Korea. A total of 818new passports were issued in 2015 as compared to 639in 2014. Other services including issuance of Emergency Certificates, attestation services; registration of birth, death and marriages etc. totalled 2429.
6. The total number of Indian nationals living in ROK is estimated to be around 11,500. During the past few years, many professionals mainly in the areas of IT, shipping and automobile have immigrated to ROK. They are working mostly with multinationals such as Hyundai, Samsung, LG, TATA Daewoo and TCS. Besides, there is significant presence of Indian students and academicians in the universities.
7. The Indian community as several informal associations formed mainly on ethnic/regional/processional lines. Some of the prominent ones include Annapurna Indian Women's Association (AIWA), Indians in Korea (IIK) - comprising mostly of professionals, Indian Student Association (ISA) in Korea and Indian Merchants' Association (IMA). The Associations undertake various cultural as well as social activities every year including organizing Holi and Diwali functions which provide the community an opportunity to socialize with other members and stay in touch with Indian culture. They also play an important role in promoting India-Korea relations.
8. Consular Wing of the Mission is also responsible for the welfare of Indians residing in Korea. For this purpose the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) has been established mainly to tackle expenditures in unforeseen and emergency situations.