SEOUL, Feb. 28 (Korea Bizwire) — The government is under fire as it recently came to light that foreigners are also eligible for ‘Youth Hope Installment Savings’ accounts, high-interest savings plans introduced by the government for younger citizens.
A 34-year-old office worker posted a petition on the website of the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae on Thursday, encouraging the government to limit the program to Koreans only.
“Why should my taxes go to foreigners? Many of us who pay these taxes aren’t even eligible for the savings plan,” the petitioner said.
“Since when did we start taking care of foreigners? Do we even have taxes for that? Many of us in our 30s and 40s are out there working day and night just to get by, and the government is willing to toss all that money to foreigners. It’s nonsense.”
The ‘Youth Hope Installment Savings’ account is a two-year savings plan that allows subscribers to deposit up to 500,000 won (US$414) each month.
The plan offers an additional 2 percent interest, on top of current interest rates, when the monthly installment is made for 12 months. Paid for two full years, the interest bonus rises to 4 percent.
Those between the ages of 19 and 34 who have earned 36 million won or less in the previous year are eligible to enroll in the savings plan.
Foreigners who meet the conditions above, have stayed in the country for longer than 183 days, and have paid taxes are also eligible, which has sparked a series of complaints online, with many criticizing the government for “taking care of income-earning foreigners” before “income-less South Korean nationals.”
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)