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South Korea Digital Nomad Visa: Everything You Need To Know

British content creator Ashley Humphries, known for his travel videos on South Korea, has expanded his interest beyond tourism. Applying as one of the initial candidates for South Korea's newly introduced "workation" visa in 2024, Humphries, the face behind the Asia-centric travel channel "Ashley's Planet," is looking to work remotely in the country for an extended period.

These "digital nomad" or working vacation visas, which gained popularity during the pandemic, have been implemented in various locations worldwide, including Dubai and the Cayman Islands. South Korea's Justice Ministry anticipates that the new visa will enhance the experience of remote work and vacations for international visitors.

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However, some experts speculate that these visas serve a dual purpose, beyond facilitating travel convenience. Professor Jungho Suh from George Washington University sees the workation visa as a strategic move to address South Korea's critically low birth rate by attracting more foreigners to the country. With the nation facing demographic challenges, the visa might play a role in fostering a diverse workforce and promoting social integration.

Jeong Hyun Cho, the founder of Hoppers, a community for remote workers in South Korea, echoes the sentiment, suggesting that decentralizing the population and improving the quality of life in regional areas could positively impact the country's fertility rate.

While the workation visas are a significant step in opening South Korea to international workers, Humphries and others express concerns about the stringent criteria for applicants. Requirements include an annual income of at least 85 million won ($65,000) from a non-Korean company, health insurance proof, and a clean criminal record.

Despite potential challenges, Jeong believes there will be a substantial number of applicants meeting the criteria, particularly from North America in fields like IT and consulting. The cost of living in Seoul for expatriates is estimated at $2050 per month, considering housing, food, transit, and co-working spaces, according to Digital Nomad World.

Humphries remains optimistic about the South Korean digital nomad visa, praising the country for its beauty, diverse activities, excellent cuisine, vibrant culture, and friendly people. If approved, he plans to base himself in Seoul.

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