A new visa reserved for foreigners living in the country after marrying South Koreans will be introduced as part of efforts to guarantee their stable stay and better deal with their growing numbers, the Justice Ministry said Tuesday.
Under the legal revisions to the immigration control law, the so-called "marriage immigrants" will be given an exclusive F-6 visa, which allows them to legally stay in the country even if their marital life ends due to unexpected events such as their Korean spouses' death or disappearance.
The marriage immigrants currently receive F-2 residency permits, which are also issued to other long-term foreigners. This often causes trouble for the government in effectively handling the steady inflow of those immigrants, according to the ministry.
"The introduction of the new visa is expected to allow the government to devise proper measures that would help the marriage immigrants better adapt themselves to Korean society," Kim Se-jin from the ministry said.
The number of foreigners in the country married to a South Korean stood at 141,654 in 2010, up 13.2 percent from the previous year and 25 percent from 2006, according to government data.
The new revisions also include a provision that allows more foreign investors to earn the F-2 residency visa, a move aimed at encouraging inbound investment by foreigners to strengthen national competitiveness, the ministry said.
The revised law stipulates that the F-2 residency visa be given to foreigners who have invested more than US$500,000 in South Korea while staying here for over three years, and those who have made over $300,000 in investments while hiring more than two Koreans. Currently, the residency permit is available only for those from corporations that invest more than $500,000 in the country.
The new immigration law will take effect as early as the end of this year, according to the ministry. (Yonhap)