Koreans with foreign residency to get local ID cards

SEOUL, July 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korean nationals with foreign residency status may be entitled to have local identification cards as part of the government's efforts to help them lead a more convenient life here, the home affairs ministry said Tuesday.

The Ministry of Security and Public Administration, along with justice and foreign ministries, are working to revise the Residents Registration Act to allow Koreans to hold the national residence registration card in addition to a foreign green card during their stay here.

"The issuance of the national ID card is expected to remove their legal and economic constraints at home," an official of the home affairs ministry said.

"We plan to submit a revision bill to the National Assembly within this year to have it take effect as early as next year," he added.

Under current law, the national registration is canceled when a South Korean citizen acquires foreign permanent residency status, putting a limit on their activities at home and on social security benefits.

The move comes after President Park Geun-hye suggested "providing Korean nationals with more chances to contribute to their home country and strengthening required administrative support," during her meeting with compatriots in Washington in May during her trip to the United States.

As of the end of 2012, some 1.15 million South Korean nationals had foreign permanent residency status, with the largest share from the U.S. with 33,900, followed by Japan with 11,500 and Canada with 11,400. Of them, 71,000 reside here.

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