The Seoul Global Center, the largest foreign support facility in Korea offering one-stop services to foreigners who encounter problems while residing in Seoul, (http://global.seoul.go.kr/index.do?lang=eng), is celebrating its 4th anniversary on January 23.
The Seoul Global Center was opened on January 23, 2008 as a multi-sourced center under the supervision of the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the cooperative support of a number of public and private organizations such as the SBA (Seoul Business Agency), World Neighbors (Multi Culture), and the Integrated Administration Office (Korea Immigration Service, National Police Agency, Korea Exchange Bank, Korea Tourism Association, etc.). As of today, more than twenty counselors are providing foreign support services in eight different languages including English, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Mongolian, Tagalog, Russian, and Uzbek. The services encompass general administrative services including immigration and driver’s license issuance as well as consultation services related to living and business in Seoul.
In the past four years, the center has received an average of 149 foreign visitors each day. If phone and fax consultations are included, the daily average amounts to 404, which means some 440,000 foreigners have used the service since 23 January 2008.
Visa and immigration-related inquiries accounted for about 60% of the total at 210,000 cases, followed by 34,000 job and labor-related complaints and 32,000 Korean class and seminar requests.
In addition to this, the center’s counselors also provided the On-Site, Door-to-Door service to towns with a large international community in order to assist foreigners who can’t visit the center on weekdays, dealing with about 27,000 problems during 140 on-site visits up until December 2011.
So far, 324 people have completed the Business Start-up School Program for International Residents run by the center, with 29 people from 12 countries successfully starting a business of their own in the areas of wholesale and retail, information technology development, consulting, and education, after receiving job ad and tax services.
The Business Start-up School Program for International Residents also hosted four seminars (Korean) for 101 non-English speaking Mongolians and Chinese in 2011, helping more foreigners open a business.
Last year, it hosted a ‘Foreigners Day’ with football teams associated with the Football Club Seoul, inviting 10,000 foreigners to watch the games and participate in a number of cultural events, thereby helping them feel truly at home in Seoul.
This year, the Seoul Global Center plans to start providing Customized Consulting by Type services for dysfunctional multicultural families in crisis (including divorce and domestic violence issues), and help them settle their problems and establish a loving family relationship.
To that end, the Center will hire professional consultants to work on domestic violence and multicultural family cases within the facility full-time, and to provide in-depth counseling services on domestic violence, problems with in-laws, poverty, and personality differences with the goal of helping them develop self-sufficiency and preventing divorce.