SEOUL, Jul. 4 (Korea Bizwire) — Nearly 770 foreign investors have been permitted to live legally in South Korea over the past six years under a government immigrant investor program, the Ministry of Justice said Thursday.
Under the Immigrant Investor Scheme for Public Business (IISPB) program launched in May 2013, a total of 766 foreigners have been granted resident or permanent resident status here as of last month in return for investing 170.6 billion won (US$146 million) in 365 public projects, according to the ministry.
The IISPB is a government program that gives F-2 residential status to foreigners investing more than 500 million won in public funds designated by the justice minister.
Their spouses and unmarried children are also granted F-2 residential status to freely work and run a business in South Korea.
The foreign investors are also eligible to get F-5 permanent resident status if their investments are maintained for five years. Foreigners investing more than 1.5 billion won here are immediately granted F-5 status.
The ministry said the amount of IISPB-related investments has steadily risen, increasing from 1.3 billion won in 2013 to 20.5 billion won in 2014 and 38.7 billion won in 2015.
Last year, the volume topped 45 billion won and reached 22.3 billion won in the first six months of this year, a rise of 81.3 percent from a year ago.
It noted that 750 foreigners have so far acquired F-2 status under the IISPB program, with another 16 granted F-5 status.
Most of the IISPB-related investments have been used to help with facility modernization at small and medium-sized companies, including the construction of smart factories.
“The IISPB program has contributed to strengthening the competitiveness of small businesses and creating 430 new jobs last year alone,” a ministry official said.