Buy in Gangwon, get your Korean green card

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Buy in Gangwon, get your Korean green card


Ahn Sang-soo, chairman of the ruling Grand National Party, right, promotes Pyeongchang’s bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics in a rally with party members yesterday at a ski resort in the county in Gangwon. [YONHAP]

Foreigners investing in a certain amount of condos or villas at the Alpensia Resort in Pyeongchang, Gangwon, will be able to get permanent residence in Korea, the government said yesterday.

Lee Kwi-nam, Minister of Justice, told the media at a press conference in Pyeongchang that the government decided to apply the so-called real estate investment immigration system to the 4.9-square-kilometer (1.9 square miles) ski resort beginning next Monday.

The measure, Lee said, was to boost foreign investment in Gangwon to increase Pyeongchang’s chances of hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics. Alpensia, which hopes to become the “Alps of Asia,” is a key facility in the county’s bid for the games. Pyeongchang lost two previous bids to host the Olympics.

The investment immigration system, introduced for Jeju Island in February 2010, gives F-2 visas to foreigners investing a certain amount of money in real estate. The foreign investors will get F-5 visas, or permanent residency, if they hold onto the purchased real estate for at least five years.

For Jeju, the threshold is $500,000. Jeju said it had attracted $85.6 million in 135 investments under the system until last month. Observers said $1 million will likely be the threshold for Alpensia.

Last month, a Shanghai-based Chinese firm signed an interim agreement with Gangwon to invest 350 billion won ($311 million) in the Pyeongchang area, including 30 villas in Alpensia. Pyeongchang is competing with Munich and Annecy, France for the 2018 Games. An IOC field inspection is underway in Annecy. Pyeongchang is to receive IOC inspectors between Feb. 14-20. The 2018 host city will be decided at an IOC gathering in Durban, South Africa, on July 6.

By Moon Gwang-lip []
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