By Park Si-soo
Foreign residents working for the Korean government will enjoy special privileges in obtaining visas, the the Ministry of Justice said Thursday.
According to the ministry foreign employees at government agencies will be allowed to stay in the country for three years with F-2 visas, after the National Assembly has recently passed a law on visa rules. It has yet to set an implementation date.
Currently, non-Koreans employed at government agencies are given yearly E-7 visas requiring they leave the country almost immediately upon visa expiration. With F-2 visas, however, they are free to work and remain in the country for three years regardless of affiliation.
Foreigners hired at Korean firm's overseas offices will be granted a D-7 visa, which would permit up to two-years of residency when working at the companies' head offices here. So far, those transferred to domestic head offices have lived on short-term residency visas (F-1), requiring renewal every 90 days.
The ministry will also ease rules on D-8 business investment visa issuance. D-8 visas allow five years of residence.
The foreigner-friendly visa regulations came about after President Lee Myung-bak instructed his Cabinet last April to set measures to open the nation's public and private positions more widely to talented foreign nationals. The ministry is also devising a worldwide online manpower recruitment network, Hunet Korea, to be completed by the end of 2009, in cooperation with KOTRA.