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S. Korea gives priority to talented foreigners in awarding citizenship

All Headlines 15:18 February 23, 2011

By Kim Eun-jung

SEOUL, Feb. 23 (Yonhap) -- Nobel prize laureates as well as accomplished scholars, entertainers and entrepreneurs will be given priority when they seek to become naturalized citizens here or to hold multiple citizenships, which is allowed under a revised immigration law embracing talented foreigners, the Ministry of Justice said Wednesday.

The latest measure comes as the government in January implemented the new immigration law to cut red tape in nationality review procedures and allow qualified foreigners to hold multiple citizenships.

The new guidelines qualify chiefs of government agencies, legal institutions and universities as well as leaders in fields of business, sports and science to recommend foreigners who show excellent performances in such areas as research, culture and entertainment, sports, management and technology to receive Korean citizenship.

Under the guidelines, world-known figures and winners of prestigious awards, such as the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize and Olympic gold medals, have top priority for citizenship regardless of prerequisites needed, the ministry said.

Scholars who have worked at four-year universities or state institutes and senior executives in the world's competitive companies also fit in the category.

Athletes and leaders, leading cultural figures as well as patent holders are welcomed to become citizens, the ministry added.

"The nationality review committee will refer to these guidelines when making a decision about who fits as a talented foreigner in the future," said Cha Kyu-geun, the ministry's immigration policy director.


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