The Korea Herald


Korea eases rules on residency for foreign investors

By Korea Herald

Published : Oct. 25, 2011 - 15:50

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More foreigners who have made large corporate investments will be able to obtain temporary residency visas, while a new visa class will be opened for foreign spouses, the Justice Ministry said Tuesday.

According to ministry officials, foreigners currently holding a corporate investment (D-8) visa may now obtain an F-2 visa if they have spent three continuous years here.

The revised bill passed by the Cabinet Tuesday also states foreigners who have invested over $300,000 and employ at least two Korean nationals may also apply for an F-2 visa.

Spouses and dependents of the investors may also receive residency visas.

The ministry said that the bill eases the requirements for a Permanent Residency (F-5) visa for real estate investors as well. Residency visa status holders no longer need to reside in Korea for five years as long as they maintain their investments. Spouses and dependents may also receive permanent residency status as well.

Those exempt from registering with the Korea Immigration Service, such as diplomats and their family members, may now receive a Foreigner Registration Number, widely used to create online accounts, upon request.

Those married to a Korean national, will now have their own visa status, F-6. Spouses are currently given F-2-1 visas.

According to KIS officials, the move is simply a change of name, which allows for better oversight and further categorizations of divorcees, widowers and others.

The revised bill comes a day after the ministry announced its plans to crack down on illegal immigrants.

According to officials, there were 166,518 illegal immigrants as of June. The number has seen a slight decrease in the past two years with 168,515 illegal immigrants in 2010 and 177,955 in 2009.

The multi-branch crackdown will be conducted over a month, with officials from the Ministry of Employment and Labor, the National Police Agency and the Korea Coast Guard.

Justice Ministry officials said they will focus on workplaces commonly thought to employ illegal immigrants such as factories and construction sites.

According to government data, Chinese nationals take up the lion’s share of illegal immigrants with 69,943, followed by Vietnamese at 16,873 and Thais at 12,905.

By Robert Lee (