South Korea Announces Online Visa for Foreign Workers

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The Justice Ministry of South Korea has announced a revised visa policy that will allow foreign workers to obtain an electronic visa through a simplified online application.

The new policy came into effect on November 18th and is primarily aimed towards foreign workers who wish to work in the parts, materials, and equipment industries in South Korea. The revision also includes relaxed visa requirements for foreign academics who wish to teach or conduct research in South Korea.

A ministry official confirmed that the measure is being taken to help those industries struggling following Korea’s recent trade row with Japan.

The rift arose following the introduction of Japanese trade restrictions against South Korea, a move speculated to be retaliation against a recent Seoul court decision to order Japanese firms to compensate Korean victims of forced labor during World War II.

The trade restrictions have most affected the parts, materials, and equipment industries in South Korea, which previously heavily relied on supplies from Japan.

The government expects the new visa policy revision to help the economy to bounce back from the restrictions, and has also announced the intention to invest heavily in the affected industries over the next 3 years.

People shopping in South Korea

Applying for the Korea Visa for Foreign Workers

The new visa policy allows foreign workers in the parts,materials and equipment industries to apply for a E-7 work visa through an electronic application, if they have first received a recommendation from the Korean Trade Ministry.

The E-7 visa is usually valid for 2 years and granted to “foreign nationals of special ability” who have “professional knowledge or technology in accordance with a contract with a public or private institution in South Korea”.

It is normally necessary to apply for an E-7 visa from a South Korean Embassy or Consulate, but applicants eligible under the new policy will be able to complete the process exclusively online. The online application is expected to cut down the visa processing time to 1 week from the current average of 30 days.

There are currently around 21,000 foreign workers with an E-7 visa in South Korea. A Justice Ministry official confirmed that the revised policy is aimed more at speeding up the visa application process for eligible candidates rather than increasing the number of visas issued.

The Online South Korea Visa for Tourism

The introduction of an online application for the E-7 work visa for the parts, materials, and equipment industries marks the first time South Korea has launched an electronic visa application. However, the country is planning to launch an online tourist visa later this year.

Foreign citizens eligible for the electronic Korea tourist visa will be able to complete a simple online application in just a few minutes to receive an approved visa for tourism via email.

A number of other foreign citizens are currently able to enter South Korea without a visa for tourism, for different periods depending on their nationality. Visit to check visa requirements for South Korea from your country.

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