Revision of Visa System
The Korean government will lower the threshold of visa system to attract talented and highly skilled foreign workers’
"The government will overhaul the visa system to favor foreign professionals who have a demonstrated ability," finance minister Yoo Il-ho said at an economy-related ministers' meeting on April 20.
To maximize the effect of the measure, the government allows the foreign professionals to stay in Korea for longer periods and their spouses be permitted to get jobs here.
The foreign professionals cannot stay in Korea for lengthy periods. Over half of foreign professionals stay here less than three years, while only 6 percent stay for more than 10 years.
Spouses of foreign professionals also cannot get jobs as English instructors, for instance, even if they are fluent in English, unless they come from one of the seven English-speaking countries including the US, the UK, Canada and Australia. The government plans to open the system up for those from other countries as long as they meet certain qualifications.
Spouses of foreign graduate students majoring in science or engineering will also be allowed to get jobs in diverse sectors as well.
The government also will review abolition of the recommendation system for professionals whom the public research institutes invite.
The government also ironed out plans to attract more foreign students in science and engineering, in particular by expanding scholarship programs for Central Asians, Southeast Asians and Africans. Those who intend to work in Korea will be given advantages in admission to graduate schools.
The number of foreigners staying in Korea has been growing rapidly. The figure increased from 1.4 million in 2011 to over 2 million in 2016, but just 48,000 are categorized as professionals. And that, most of the 48,000 are language instructors or chefs, while professors and researchers only account for 12 percent.