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Subject “Working Visit” system to be operational starting March 4th of this year
Name HiKorea
Email webmaster@g4f.go.kr
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“Working Visit” system to be operational starting March 4th of this year

In light of the fact that Koreans with foreign nationality have been relatively neglected when it comes to immigration and employment privileges, the Ministry of Justice have decided to operate the “Working Visit” system., starting this March 4th.

The Working Visit (H-2) is a transitional status, which is to be given to Koreans in China and former Soviet territories before they are given the Overseas Korean (F-4) status. It can be obtained if the applicants are over 25 years old and meet certain qualification. Basically, it is a multiple entry visa that remains valid for 5 years and allows up to 3 years of stay per visit. With it, they can freely enter and depart the country and also seek employment if they wish. It was designed to help them acquire advanced job skills and financial basis, which we hope will help them when they go back to their country of residence.

Currently, there is Family Visit (F-1-4) status which does something similar, but it is only given to those that have relatives living in Korea, and only allows for very limited employment opportunities. The Working Visit (H-2) is much more versatile in that it can be given to those that don’t have any relatives in Korea, and it allows the applicant to be employed in 32 different types of jobs (increased from the current 19), including fish hatchery and furniture wholesale.

However, in order to prevent the local employment market from being essentially overrun by sudden increase of foreign workers, a yearly quota will be placed (by the Foreign Human Resource Policies Committee) to those that don’t have any domestic relatives. In addition, these people will be tested for Korean proficiency to ensure that the selection is fair and unbiased. Selection details will be posted on the local Korean consulate web pages early next year.

If an Working Visit (H-2) status holding foreigners were to apply for a job, their employment procedure and employer’s recruitment procedures will be as follows (in accordance with the recently passed “Law on recruitment of foreign labor” – passed on Jan. 3rd, 2007, and placed into effect from March 4th, 2007)

- Overseas Koreans that entered with Working Visit(H-2) visa must go through Ministry of Labor’s employment training, and then apply for employment. After that they can seek employment on their own, or have one suggested to them by the Employment Service Center. They can only be employed in places that have special recruitment permits, and can change their workplace after submitting notification of the change.


※ Traditionally, they had to receive a permit for status change, and could only work in places that were recommended by the Employment Service Center. In addition, they had to receive permits, every time they had to change their workplace.

- If a local employer would like to hire an overseas Korean, they must obtain a special recruitment permit from the Ministry of Justice (valid for 3 years), and recruit overseas Koreans from the Employment Service Center’s list of potential employees.


※ Traditionally, they had to go through the same procedures as hiring a normal foreign labor, and had to receive a permit for every foreign employee that they hire.

Also, the Working Visit(H-2) visa allows its holders to be exempt from re-entry permit if they have to leave the country for whatever reason. Also, as mentioned above, they can seek employment or change their workplace by submitting a notification of such events.

※ Traditionally, if overseas Koreans were to seek employment, they had to change their status to Non-Professional Employment (E-9), and had to apply for re-entry permit every time they had to leave the country.

Also, revision to Immigration Law Enforcement Ordinance and Immigration Law Enforcement Regulation, which defines key elements and execution process of the Working Visit(H-2) system, is currently being reviewed by the Office of Legislation.

Ministry of Justice said that if this “Working Visit system” were to stay, it would provide great opportunities for mutually beneficial development of all involved parties. Also, it would strengthen the emotional ties between those of Korean descent and form the foundation of a a global network of Korean collective, which we can all benefit from in this Information Age that we live in.

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