Visa Crunch

Korean Government Ramp-Up Effort To Attract Skilled, Foreign Talent

For the year 2022, the Korean government will increase its attempts to attract more qualified foreign nationals by upgrading its visa system for job applicants who have earned an advanced degree in the country.

The Ministry of Justice recently implemented a series of more open and inclusive immigration policies targeted at expanding the employment of foreign workers in order to sustain national growth in the face of the country’s ongoing population decrease, declining birth rate, and ageing society.

According to ministry projections, there would be around 1.97 million foreign nationals living in the country by 2021, accounting for 3.82 per cent of the overall population. Around 1,70,000 international students are studying at institutions around the country, with more than half of them enrolling in courses other than the Korean language.

A “fast track visa system” will be launched and implemented by the government in the first half of this year for foreign nationals who have received masters or PhD degrees in science and information technology (IT) here, which will provide them with legal standing throughout their job-seeking phase.

The policy comes at a time when the country is experiencing a brain drain, with many qualified young foreign nationals preferring to leave Korea when their student visa permits expire. The government will also implement a new visa policy to attract foreign nationals in the entertainment and culture sectors, as well as enhance support for children of unregistered foreign residents who were reared in the country after arriving as minors.

To protect their educational rights and to welcome them as members of Korean society, the government is considering extending permanent resident status to students who have completed elementary school in Korea. The parents of such children may also be allowed legal residency in the country till their child finishes his or her schooling.

The ministry stated that it will continue to assist Afghan evacuees who arrived in the nation in August as “special contributors” in their integration into Korean society through work and education. Furthermore, the assistance provided to them will be reflected in future government policy concerning refugees.

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