Seoul to ease restrictions on foreign workers

The new rules will apply to agricultural and fisheries sectors as part of efforts to address labour shortages in rural areas.

Lee Jung-Youn

Lee Jung-Youn

The Korea Herald


Foreign workers harvest cabbages at a farm located in Hongcheon, Gangwon Province, Oct. 3. (Yonhap)

October 14, 2022

SEOUL – Visa regulations for foreign workers in the agricultural and fisheries sectors will be eased as part of efforts to address labor shortages in rural areas.

According to the advance notice of legislation the Ministry of Justice announced Thursday, visa issuance regulations will be eased for workers in those sectors.

Foreigners who have stayed in South Korea for longer than five years on E-9 non-professional employment visas or E-10 maritime crew visas cannot apply for visa issuance certificates, but the revised law will subtract the additional days they have stayed due to the pandemic when counting how long they have been here.

In addition, the number of jobs available for foreigners with H-2 visas will increase. The H-2 visa is a visiting workers visa issued mainly to Korean Chinese.

To cope with the drastic rural population decline, a new regulation designed to ease employment restrictions on foreign residents and grant permanent residency to people who have made special contributions to the public interest is included.

When local governments comprehensively analyze the industrial structure, job status within the region, and characteristics of a local universities and submit the reports to the Justice Ministry, the ministry will issue visas to foreigners considering the demand in the region.

“Rapid population decrease and shrinking local cities are an imminent reality. The revision is to pre-emptively respond to that danger,” said the official from Justice Ministry on Thursday.

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