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S. Korea aims to attract young foreign caregivers

By Choi Jeong-yoon

Published : Dec. 22, 2023 - 15:48

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The Ministry of Health and Welfare has announced measures to attract young foreigners to work as caregivers, as the country faces a dramatic shortage in the sector to care for a rapidly aging society.

The ministry is seeking ways to allow D-10 visa holders to acquire nursing qualifications, it said Thursday. D-10 is considered a "job-seeker visa," which is designed for individuals who have graduated from Korean universities or have worked in the country for at least one year. Once a D-10 visa holder earns a nursing certificate and is employed at a sanatorium or nursing hospital, an E-7 visa, a type of work visa for foreign nationals will be issued.

The government plans to push a policy that gives incentives to those who have worked for a certain period in the sector, likely two to three years, to obtain permanent residence or a residency visa.

"A permanent residence visa is what foreigners want the most, so incentives like this can be one of the inducements," the ministry official said.

The measure is a part of the government's plan to have one caregiver take care of around four patients a year. Out of some 2.5 million certificate holders, only 601,492 actively work in the sector as of 2022. The government predicts a shortfall of about 100,000 professionals by 2027.

Currently, there are about 10,000 D-10 visa holders in Korea. Among them, the government predicts some 3,000 people with health and welfare-related majors could benefit. The Health Ministry said it is in discussions with related ministries, including the Ministry of Justice, to devise ways to attract qualified overseas workers.