South Korea’s new visa program aims to attract more tech talent
SEOUL — The South Korean government will introduce a new visa category called E-7-S in October to attract more global professionals into the nation’s high-tech industries.
The current E-7 visa is an employment visa for foreign nationals in white collar industries, but complaints have grown because only workers in 92 specified occupations were eligible for the visa.
The new E-7-S visa will be issued regardless of job type, as long as the applicants are evaluated as professionals working in high-tech industries. However, manual laborers or office workers in non-tech sectors will not be eligible.
“Companies have complained that the current work visas for foreign workers do not cover jobs in new industries such as smart farming, drones and e-sports,” said Lee Seung-hyun, a visa division official of the Ministry of Justice.
“We expect the new visa program to help them hire more global talent.”
Lee added that the new visa program will be operated under a quota system to gauge early-stage demand.
Under the program, applicants must show proof that their most recent annual income is equivalent to or above 70 percent of South Korea’s per capita gross national income. They will also be required to present a bachelor’s degree and at least one year of working experience in their specialized fields, or a total of five years of working experience.
Along with the new working visa, the Justice Ministry also plans to launch a new intern visa called D-10-3 which makes it easier for foreign students majoring in high-tech fields to work as interns at Korean companies.
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