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Parliament allows taking fingerprints, photos of suspicious inbound foreigners

All Headlines 18:09 April 21, 2010

By Tony Chang

SEOUL, April 21 (Yonhap) -- The parliament passed immigration law revisions Wednesday to allow the collection of fingerprints and photos of foreigners arriving in the country to enhance the nation's security against terrorism.

The revisions, which were stalled at the National Assembly since November amid political bickering, precede Seoul's hosting of the Group of 20 summit in November. They apply to all foreigners aged 17 or older except for officials of foreign governments and international organizations and others exempted under a presidential decree.

The amended law will take effect three months after its promulgation.

The arrests earlier this month of two Pakistani men, suspected to be members of the Taliban, alarmed the country as they were able to bypass the immigration checkpoint using fake passports.

The parliament also revised the country's nationality act to allow multiple citizenship for certain groups, including foreigners with "exceptional talent" and Koreans who were adopted overseas when they were minors.

South Korea had not permitted adults and foreigners living in the country to hold multiple citizenships and required those born in foreign countries to choose one nationality when they turn 22 or automatically lose Korean citizenship.

odissy@yna.co.kr
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