South Korea’s new visa program aims to attract more tech talent

The Korea Herald/Asia News Network

SEOUL — The South Korean government will introduce a new visa category called E-7-S in October to attract more global professionals to the country’s high-tech industries.

The current E-7 visa is a work visa for foreign nationals in white-collar industries, but complaints grew because only workers in 92 specified occupations were eligible for the visa.

The new E-7-S visa will be issued regardless of employment type, as long as applicants are assessed as professionals working in high-tech industries. However, workers or office workers in non-tech sectors will not be eligible.

“Companies have complained that current work visas for foreign workers do not cover jobs in new industries such as smart agriculture, drones and e-sports,” said Lee Seung-hyun, an official at the visa division 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 managed under a quota system to assess demand at an early stage.

Under this program, applicants must prove that their most recent annual income is equal to or greater than 70% of South Korea’s gross national income per capita. They must also present a bachelor’s degree and at least one year of professional experience in their fields of specialization, making a total of five years of professional experience.

Along with the new work visa, the Department of Justice also plans to launch a new intern visa called D-10-3 which makes it easier for international students majoring in high-tech fields to work as interns in Korean companies.

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Ryan H. Bowman