|In this Sep. 20, 2015, photo, 56 Nepalese workers ― with tags containing company names and contact numbers ― board a Korean Air flight bound for South Korea at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal. / Korea Times file|
By Ko Dong-hwan
Foreign workers who hold the E-9 non-professional employment visa will no longer be able to have unlimited extensions under new Korean government rules.
Applicants will only be able to extend the visa once, with a maximum stay of four years and 10 months, the Ministry of Justice said, according to Yonhap news agency Thursday. The ministry is working with the Ministry of Employment and Labor to shape the policy. No date was given for its introduction.
The existing rules allow foreign workers to live in Korea for up to four years and 10 months on their first E-9 visa. They could then return to their home country and do a Korean ability test. If they passed, they received a work permit and could renew the visa for another four years and 10 months. There was no limit to the number of renewals.
The new policy is designed to stop foreign workers taking the jobs of Koreans. Officials also considered there could be possible human rights violations when family members of E-9 applicants were refused entry to Korea.
The new rules will not apply to workers who have been in Korea for nine years and eight months and have applied for a visa renewal.
Those whose visas expire after policy's introduction must return to their home countries. They could then apply for a different visa if they have eligible professional skills.