As the justice minister announced on Wednesday (June 28) a fifteen-fold increase in the yearly quota to 30,000 in order to help businesses overcome labor shortages, South Korea hopes that it will issue a record number of visas for foreign skilled workers this year.
Younger South Koreans are reluctant to work in blue-collar occupations, making it difficult for the industrial and agricultural sectors of Asia’s fourth-largest economy to fill open positions.
The annual allotment for the E-7-4 visa program has increased gradually since its launch, going from 300 in 2017 to 2,000 in 2022.
According to a justice ministry official, this year’s increase will be the biggest by far and should assist alleviate persistent shortages of competent personnel in the manufacturing and agriculture sectors. The quota for this year was initially going to be capped at 5,000 in South Korea.
The presidential office quoted Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon as telling a government meeting that it should end “talk of foreigners being unable to come due to insufficient quota.”
In response to requests from industry, the criteria for visa applications will also be relaxed, the ministry said.