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Jeju allows permanent residency for resort unit investors
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승인 2011.07.11  08:56:42
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The Jeju Special Self-Governing Province recently revised permanent residency regulations to open its doors to a greater number of foreign investors. In an interview on June 30, Kang Sung Whoa, executive director of the province’s Free International City Bureau (the agency tasked with promoting Jeju as a prime destination for foreign investment), he explained the amendments to permanent residency.

▲ Free International City Bureau Executive Director Kang Sung Whoa. Photo by Kim Soo Yang

1. When was the law of Permanent Residency through Investment in Resort Units enacted in Korea and how many times has the law been amended?
It was the Jeju Special Self-Governing Province that first established the Permanent Residency through Investment in Resort Units in Korea. The Jeju provincial government suggested the idea to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy and the KOTRA (Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Corporation). The article was enacted under the Tourism Promotion Act in February 2010 and was amended for the first time in May 2011.

2. What achievements have there been since the establishment of the Permanent Residency through Investment in Resort Units?
Since the law was legislated, the increased attention from foreign investors has invigorated the tourism industry, leading to more job creation on Jeju. To date, 183 foreign investors won bids for 112.5 billion won worth of resort condominiums, and the residential visa (F-2) was issued for three of them.

3. What led to the law amendment last May, and what are those changes?
The first amendment was passed to clarify previously unclear provisions.
Firstly, investors with no need for the permanent resident status can receive the common type of visa which allows a maximum stay of 90 days with multiple reentries and is valid for three years after issuance. The stay duration limit was extended from the previous 30 days.
Secondly, the residential visa (F-1) is issuable by making a down payment of 100 million won (or US$100,000), while one can get a residential visa if they have had real estate registered in the past.
Thirdly, those with an F-1 visa do not have to stay on Jeju the entire five years to be granted permanent residency. To obtain a green card, only a single visit to renew the F-1 visa after two years from issue is deemed necessary, according to the unrevised condition.
Fourthly, a real estate agency can act on behalf of foreign buyers and sellers.
Lastly, preliminary screening and guidance for investors comes into force as a preventive measure against potential disputes.

4. Can we say that the biggest target for Permanent Residency through Investment in Resort Units is Chinese investors?
Permanent Residency through Investment in Resort Units is for any foreign investor in the world, but it is true that Chinese investors make up the largest percentage of investment on Jeju.

5. What most distinguishes Jeju Island from Pyeongchang Alpensia Resort when it comes to investment conditions to acquire permanent residency?
First of all, the Pyeongchang Alpensia Resort can be considered to be a small tourist complex with its 5 million square-meter area, while a variety of resort units are open for investment all over Jeju Island, including recreational condominiums, resorts, pension houses and villas in various project zones. Next, the minimum investment of 1 billion won is required to acquire permanent residency in the Alpensia Resort, while one only needs half that on Jeju. Last but not least, more than five people need to share the real estate ownership in Pyeongchang Alpensia Resort while there is no such regulation on Jeju Island.


This interview was condensed and edited for clarity – Ed.


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