By Ko Jae-man
South Korea will ease regulations on visa screening procedures for foreign students seeking skilled jobs fundamental for manufacturing such as molding, welding, surface treatment, plastic working and heat treatment in Korea.
Starting January, young foreigners who are studying in colleges to become technicians and engineers will have their student visa (D2 visa) converted into a special working permit (E7) if they seek jobs here, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
Such industries have been suffering from a labor shortage as young Koreans turn to easier and higher-paying jobs.
The ministry will accept applications for the visa conversion until January 13 and complete the procedure by the end of January. Foreigners who passed the evaluation can apply for the conversion at the immigration office of Ministry of Justice.
Some 120 foreigners are studying at eight local colleges under the government-led root industry vocational training program at Keimyung College University, Chosun University, Chosun College of Science & Techonology, Koje College, Kunjang University College, Jeonju Vision College, Ajou Motor College and Inha Technical College.
E7 visa which ensures stable economic activity in Korea requires master’s degree or five years or more working experience. As of November last year, 20,975 E7 holders were registered in Korea, only 1.8 percent among the total 1,168,781 foreigners.