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New visa regulations in South Korea

New visa regulations announced by the Justice Ministry in July are likely to mean foreign English language teachers – who are usually on low starting salaries – will struggle to settle in the country in the long term.

From December, Korea’s F-2-7 visa – which lasts for up to five years for those in highly skilled occupations and allows a change of jobs – will require applicants to achieve six times more “points” based on salaries than are currently required. To reach the maximum number of points, a teacher would need to be on 100 million won annually (£64,000), far above many entry-level teachers’ wages.

Applicants with just enough points for an F-2-7 will only get visas for one or two years. Younger applicants will also be penalised.

Currently, foreign teachers can upgrade from a short-term work visa for a specific job, the E-7-4 visa, to the F-2-7 while in Korea. Under the new rules, in nearly all cases, they will have to return to their home country and start their application for an F-2-7 from there.

Image courtesy of Library
Matt Salusbury
Matt Salusbury
MATT SALUSBURY, news editor and journalist, has worked for EL Gazette since 2007. He is also joint Chair of the London Freelance Branch of the National Union of Journalists and co-edits its newsletter, the Freelance. He taught English language for 15 years in the Netherlands, in Turkey, in a North London further education college and now as an English for Academic Purposes tutor, most recently at the London School of Economics. He is a native English speaker and is also fluent in Dutch.
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