Just talked to the Immigration office today and they have extended out the changes for current English Teachers for renewing their visas WITHOUT a criminal background check. If you have a visa that expires before April or May of 2008, you can apply up through March 15th, 2008 for a visa renewal for one year withOUT the hassle of doing the criminal background check.
However, for all teachers who are coming to Korea for the first time though, you do have to go through the rigors of applying for your new E-2 Visa WITH a criminal background check & also a Medical Affidavit of Health & get your medical history/health status confirmed when you come into Korea.
**Please note, I did not confirm though if the E-2 Visa holders currently get to avoid doing the Medical Health affidavit or the actual Physical Checkup. It may still be a part of the renewal process.