• Immigation Detention Centers To Resume Visiting Hours Next Week

The Hwaseong immigration detention center will resume visitation hours on Monday. (Photo: Yonhap)

For the first time in seven months, immigration detention centers in South Korea will open their doors to visitors.

Beginning on Monday, the Hwaseong Immigration Detention Center in Gyeonggi Province and the Cheongju Immigration Detention Center in North Chungcheong will partially lift the ban on in-person visits that has been in place since November as part of efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Visits with foreign nationals being held at the centers until deportation can be booked through advance reservation, according to officials.

But meetings will only be granted to foreigners who have spent more than 14 days at the centers.

Visiting hours will also be limited to 10-11 a.m. and 2-4 p.m., the officials said, noting that people who are vaccinated against COVID-19 or test negative for the virus will be given priority.

The move falls in line with the evolving COVID-19 situation, including enhanced preparedness and the growing number of vaccinated people in the country.

Earlier this month, the Yeosu Immigration Office reopened its meeting room for visitors following a regional downgrade of social distancing rules.

The Ministry of Justice allowed correctional facilities across the country to ease COVID-19-related restrictions on visitors in May, but did not include immigration detention centers, prompting migrant rights groups to appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of Korea.

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