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Global talent Print E-mail
Sunday, 08 November 2009 00:50

Foreigners who purchase property in Korea may be eligible to receive permanent residency starting early next year.

A revision in the law will allow foreigners who buy real estate in Korea exceeding a specified amount to obtain a D-8 visa. Property holders who stay in Korea for more than five years will be given permanent residency. Currently, D-8 visas are issued only to foreign direct investors.

Initially, the new D-8 visa program will apply to the Jeju Special Self-Governing Province. The aim is to attract retirees from abroad to the southern island. The Justice Ministry said that while the details have yet to be confirmed, D-8 visas will be granted to people who invest more than $500,000 in condominiums and resorts in areas such as Jeju that are attractive to retirees.

Such international residency programs are hardly new in other parts of the world. For example, Malaysia's "Malaysia My Second Home" scheme aims to attract foreign retirees to the country by giving long-stay visas up to 10 years and various other incentives to foreigners who make real-estate investments. Hong Kong, Canada and the United States also give long-term visas or permanent resident status to property investors.

While the pilot international residency program will be limited to the Jeju for now, the government is expected to expand the program to other parts of the country. By directing foreign investment to areas that have been traditionally off the map for investors from abroad, the government seeks to stimulate the local economies. One caveat here is that such areas may not be attractive to foreign investors, despite the incentives.

Making visas more easily obtainable for qualified foreign talent is another government attempt to secure a large pool of high-quality foreign manpower. An online visa issuance system, dubbed HuNet Korea, is designed to make it easier for Korean companies to hire global talent.

A database of qualified workers from abroad recommended by designated experts combined with online visa application and issuance for the people on the database are expected to facilitate the hiring of high-quality manpower from around the world.

The new system will cut down the visa processing time from the current one month to less than a week. For businesses, it will also lower expenses involved in seeking foreign employees.

In the effort to promote globalization, it should be remembered that attracting talent to the country is only half the job. What is perhaps more important is creating inclusive social and business environments for them and their capital. The government should work on the details of the new schemes and promote them actively so that they become more than mere window dressing to the country's efforts to globalize.

Source: http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/NEWKHSITE/data/html_dir/2009/11/07/200911070012.asp

 



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