Korea: a Barren Land for Multiple Nationalities
Korea: a Barren Land for Multiple Nationalities
  • Choi Min-sik
  • 승인 2022.05.25 20:06
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  Multiple nationality, being a citizen of more than one country, is increasing rapidly in Korea. It would be common to choose Korean nationality if you were born in a foreign country but spent most of your life in Korea or if you planned to live in Korea in the future. However, in modern Korean society, some people give up Korean nationality in the above circumstances. This is recognized as a social problem as the number of dual citizens giving up Korean citizenship is rapidly increasing. 
  According to the Ministry of Justice, defection cases reached 4,308 in 2021. It is an increase of 2,000 people compared to two years ago. 
  There are several reasons why people choose to give up their Korean nationality. First, there are certain disadvantages to multiple citizenships. In the case of dual U.S. & Korean citizens, they are restricted from being appointed to federal office positions and participating in politics. Also, they have the disadvantage of applying to the U.S. military and academies. Since President Donald Trump took office in 2017, the U.S. government is known to have strengthened various disadvantages for multiple nationalities.
 The second reason is Korean military service. In Korea, men over 18 are obligated to serve in the military. Because of the legal nature of conscription, many young Korean men use dual citizenship to avoid military service. In 2021, legal measures were strengthened to prevent draft-dodging under the revised Nationality Act. However, many people say it is an exclusive attitude toward multiple nationalities to choose their citizenship at a young age (decide their nationality by March of the year they turn 18). According to a man in his 20s who had to choose between Japan and Korea, he was afraid of the disadvantage of giving up Korean citizenship. He mentioned the lack of information and guidance for multiple citizens. Regarding military service, he thought it was a big reason to give up his Korean nationality.
  Discussions on the revision of the Nationality Act will be held in September. It is time that attention is paid to Korea’s legislation and attitude toward multiple nationalities in the future.

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