More than 1,000 Chinese nationals, comprising 99% of all applicants have been accepted for the F-2 Investor Immigration Scheme on the resort island of Jeju in South Korea. The scheme gives foreigners Korean residency in exchange for purchasing a condominium in a designated foreign-invested resort development for more than USD500K – well above the local average house price of USD140K.
The F2 residency is however only a temporary visa specifically for applicants buying resort property. However, the holder of an F2 visa can qualify for F5 permanent residency permit after five years. Foreign investors can obtain F5 permanent residency visa when the investment is over USD500K and they must hire more than five local workers.
Launched in 2010 to stimulate foreign investment on Jeju, the scheme has now been adopted by four other mainland locations in South Korea.
The slowdown in China has led to growing demand for offshore wealth protection options and foreign residency is very much sought after. Jeju, which is just an hour’s flight away from China provides one of the cheapest and easiest forms of residencies for foreigners. Applicants are also attracted by Jeju’s famed natural beauty which makes it a popular film location for many Korean dramas. Jeju is the largest island off Korea.
Due to its popularity, a number of foreign developers such as China’s Greenland Group and Malaysia’s Genting have undertaken condo development there. This has led to concerns among local residents culminating in a review of permits for major projects which resulted in delays and revisions to several developments including Greenland’s Dream Tower and the Resort World Jeju project being undertaken by Landing International and Genting.