Go to contents

Expats Investing in Rec Facilities to Get Green Cards

Posted September. 22, 2009 08:41,   


Foreigners who buy condominiums and resort facilities worth at least 500,000 U.S. dollars or invest 500 million won (415,282 dollars) in tourism and leisure in Korea can get long-term visas as early as next year.

The government yesterday also said it will develop a tourism development management system to prevent overlapping investments in tourism development, and extend preferential budget to projects implemented jointly with provincial governments.

These items were discussed at an economic council meeting of provinces and metropolitan cities chaired by Vice Strategy and Finance Minister Huh Kyung-wook at the Government Complex in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province. Plans were drafted on “improving measures to galvanize provincial investment” and “enhancing efficiency in tourism development.”

For one, the government decided to expand the eligibility for long-term visas for foreigners to promote foreign investment in Korea. An expat can get the F-5 visa, a de facto green card, for investing 500,000 dollars and employing at least five nationals.

The regulation will be expanded to foreigners who buy land to develop domestic tourism and leisure worth 500,000 dollars, and grant the F-5 visa to those who stay in the country for five years or longer.

The government plans to give top priority for long-term lease at industrial complexes to companies that return to Korea after having shifted production facilities to China and Vietnam,. Certain areas will be designated special industrial complexes for companies who return to Korea.

More Korean students will be allowed to attend public schools for foreigners to be set up in free economic zones. The government in early July had raised the ratio of Koreans at such institutions to 30 percent until five years after such a school’s opening from 10 percent.

The government plans to designate the Korea-China International Industrial Complex for setup at Muan Enterprise City in South Jeolla Province, and allow employment of foreigners in certain service industries including tourism and liquor wholesale.

Investors must also submit information on overlapping investment when applying for projects receiving state funds in tourism. A tourism development management system centered on the Culture, Sports and Tourism Ministry will also be set up to prevent overlapping investments in tourism development projects.

This measure is geared to stem fears over overlapping investment and unmanaged development since various projects are implemented at multiple locations at once without sufficient coordination.

Such projects include special regional districts supervised by the Knowledge Economy Ministry; enterprise cities (Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs Ministry), tourist sites, complexes, special districts, and clusters (Culture Ministry), and the sun belt project for the southern coast (Land Ministry).