Korea to help foreign students work in Korea after their studies

KOREA TIMES Posted : 2015-10-08 by Choi Kyong-ae



Korea will ease regulations next year to help small- and medium-sized companies recruit foreign students who want to get jobs after finishing their studies here, government officials said Thursday.
"A government task force is planning to set up a database which contains the universities and majors foreign students go to and study by the end of this year," Kim Hong-ju, director of the human development division at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, said.

The move comes after the government has found a sizable demand for jobs at Korean information-technology companies among foreign students residing in Korea.

The trade ministry will take the role of connecting companies which have difficulty in hiring workers with foreign students who seek jobs at Korean companies, Kim said. The Ministries of Justice, Employment and Labor, and Education will also contribute to the task force.

These ministries could not be reached for comment Thursday.
If a foreign student graduates from a Korean university and finds a job at a Korean company, they be given an E-7 (designated activities) visa which allows them to get a better-paying job compared to an E-9 visa, the director said.



And a foreign student who receives an E-7 visa is able to extend his or her stay every two years. Companies will be able to make inroads into overseas markets with the help of educated foreign workers, the ministry said.

"Most foreign students Korean companies are eying are from emerging markets such as Russia, India and China. Those are growth markets for Korean businesses. As companies often have difficulty in advancing into those markets due to the language barrier and culture gap, foreign students born and raised there will be a great help," Kim said.

Korean graduates prefer big conglomerates such as Samsung and Hyundai Motor, and public organizations which guarantee job security and steep welfare benefits rather than small companies or venture startups.

As a result, small- and mid-sized firms face an exacerbating lack of workers amid the country's low birthrate and rapid aging.

To keep more international talent in Korea, meanwhile, the Ministry of Justice already took an initial step. It eased visa restrictions in February for foreigners with a Korean college degree and a wish to work here.




The policy change will enable foreigners who have earned bachelor's degrees or higher in Korea to get an E-7 visa, even if what they do in the workplace is unrelated to their major. Previously, that relevancy was required.



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