12/30/2023, 10.34
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Seoul: a visa to attract 'digital nomads' in the new year

by Alessandra Tamponi

Residence permit for up to two years for those who choose to make South Korea the base for smart working. But to obtain it they will need to prove they can count on an annual income of 60,000 euro. A measure in line with the objective of attracting a desirable slice of consumers by counting on its technological infrastructure.

Seoul (AsiaNews) - Seoul will usher in the new year with the introduction of a new, particular type of visa: the digital nomad visa. The initiative is complementary to South Korea's broader project to attract new tourists for economic recovery and joins around fifty other countries that have made similar choices with the explosion of smart working following the pandemic.

The new type of visa will be intended exclusively for those who, working remotely, choose to settle for a short or medium period in a place outside their national border. Digital nomads constitute an important source of income for the countries that host them.

In fact, they tend to spend a large part of their earnings in the communities that host them, supporting local businesses especially in the tourism and hospitality sector. Until now, foreign citizens who decided to become digital nomads in South Korea made use of a tourist visa for a maximum stay of 90 days. With the digital nomad visa, however, the stay can be extended up to two years.

However, not all remote workers will be considered eligible for this type of visa. According to what was reported by the Korea Herald, interested parties will have to demonstrate that they receive an annual income of over 84.96 million won (about 60 thousand euros ed.).

Applicants are also required to have private health insurance with coverage of at least 100 million won to ensure repatriation in an emergency situation. The visa, once received, also allows you to bring with you any spouse and children (under the age of 18), but does not allow you to apply for job positions in Korea.

The visa could see significant success due to the favorable climate that South Korea offers to those who work remotely in professions ranging from art or writing to data analysis that are highly dependent on digital infrastructure, a field in which South Korea is at the forefront.

The country is not only one of the most technologically developed, but it uses one of the fastest and most extensive internet connections in the world. There is also a considerable spread of Internet cafes or other forms of co-working spaces in the country, many of which are open at any time every day of the week. The country is also culturally rich, making its ability to attract those who have decided to make tourism a lifestyle credible.

The initiative could prove to be of strategic importance for South Korea which aims to host 30 million tourists a year by 2027 and reach at least 27 billion euros in revenue related to the sector.

To achieve this objective, the attraction of new human capital is fundamental and today digital nomads already constitute an attractive segment of consumers destined to grow. In fact, there are already around 35 million digital nomads in the world, and their number could reach one billion by 2035, making up over 10% of the global population.

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