The South Korean government is planning to give an exceptional talent visa to global top 500 college graduates and those with an annual salary of 36 million won or more. The spouses of foreigners whose annual salary exceeds 38 million won are expected to be given a work visa, too. The plans to deal with a decline in working age population are scheduled to be implemented in the second half of next year.
According to the government, the annual salary criterion will be applied to foreigners working for South Korean companies and the college criterion will be based on the college rankings of Quacquarelli Symonds and the like. The monthly pay of approximately 95 percent of foreigners working in South Korea is currently 2.7 million won or less. In other words, the government’s idea is to give the visa mainly to top 5 percent. The government explained that it would look into various parts and thus those in their 20s with a monthly pay of less than three million won can be given the visa and those much older may not be given the visa in spite of a monthly pay of more than three million won.
Excellent talent visa applicants are likely to be divided into three groups for different benefits. The top group is likely to include a foreigner receiving an annual salary of at least 100 million won from a South Korean company and he or she is expected to be given a visa of up to five years ensuring the employment of his or her spouse and child as well.
As mentioned above, the plans are because of a decline in working age population. According to Statistics Korea, the number of locals in the age group of 15 to 64 is estimated to fall from 37.59 million to 24.48 million from this year to 2050.
Although the number of foreigners in South Korea is increasing, that of those with high wages and high education remains stagnant. Specifically, the latter edged down from 48,000 to 47,000 while the former jumped from 1.4 million to 2.37 million from 2011 to last year. As of May last year, the number of foreigners working in South Korea was 884,000, equivalent to only 3.3 percent of South Korean employees.