“As the number of foreign residents living in Seoul is increasing, Seoul Quality of Life Monitors program was founded to reflect foreign residents’ views in new policies,” said Cui Hai-yan, the manager of Multiculturalism Division in SMG. “Seoul Quality of Life Monitors will be a connecting link between foreign residents and the government.”
The results announced by SMG included the reports of 78 monitors from 22 nations and a survey conducted on Aug. 22.
According to the results, foreign residents currently living in Seoul agreed that the public security is superb at night, the traffic system is convenient with the bus arrival notification service and the clean urban environment are the merits of Seoul.
However, monitors’ reports and survey results pointed out that the guidance system for foreign residents in an emergency situation such as the emergency announcement is insufficient. Another inconvenience the monitors reported was that each institution spelled foreigners’ names in different ways on identification cards and documents.
For instance, spelling one’s name differently as Hong Jitong on the certificate of alien registration and Hong Jirutong on the business license even though the resident has a Korean name, Hong Gil-dong causes confusion.
Among 138 reports of monitors, SMG notified the relevant departments and institutions of 43 reports that require settlement, and demanded improvements. The SMG is currently checking whether government institutions, public institutions and private enterprises that were notified took actions to alleviate the complaints.It has taken steps to improve some of the reported inconvenience.
In regard to the guidance system in emergency situations, TBS has been airing contact information of hospitals in case of accidents and disasters on English FM (101.3 MHz) from August. To solve the problem of each institution spelling names differently on identification cards and documents, SMG plans to suggest the immigration office to add the Korean names of the foreign residents on their certificate of alien registration to avoid any confusion.
Students reacted positively toward SMG’s efforts and hoped the Seoul Quality of Life Monitors program contributes to accomplishing changes in Seoul.
“I hope SMG deals with the other remaining problems quickly, especially the system for emergency situations in which both local and foreign residents deserve proper aid,” Song Jai-won (Liberal Arts, 1) said.”
SMG will continue to recruit monitors every year to listen to more various suggestions and ideas for foreign resident policies.
“Although Seoul is a good city for foreigners to live in, there are still difficulties for them in their daily lives,” Cui said. “We believe that every individual’s opinion accumulates and make up a new policy, eventually bringing a change.”