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2024 Changes: Expanding South Korea's E-9 Visa Program to New Industries


Starting in April 2024, significant changes to the E-9 visa program will allow the inclusion of workers in the restaurant and lodging industries in Seoul. This expansion aims to address labor shortages and support growth in these vital sectors.

I. What’s New?

For the first time, foreign workers can now be employed in Korean restaurants and certain hotel sectors under the E-9 non-professional employment visa. Previously, this visa was limited to industries such as manufacturing, construction, agriculture, fisheries, and some services.

Expanded Industries

  • Korean restaurants, hotels, resorts, forestry, and mining sectors can now hire more foreign workers under the E-9.

Increased Quotas

  • The national quota for foreign workers has been raised from 120,000 to 165,000 to help fill roles across multiple industries.

II. How to Apply

Applications are accepted at regional job centers or the Ministry of Employment and Labor’s Work 24 website.

III. Eligibility Criteria for Businesses

Size and Duration Requirements

  • Businesses with at least five Korean employees must have been operational for five years.

  • Businesses with fewer than five employees must have been operational for seven years.

Employee Quotas

  • Companies with five or more employees can hire up to two E-9 visa holders.

  • Companies with fewer than five employees can hire only one E-9 visa holder.

Hiring Process

  • Before applying for E-9 visas, business owners must attempt to hire Korean nationals for at least one week, demonstrating efforts to fill positions domestically before seeking foreign workers.


Visa Allocation


25,000 visas


1,800 visas

Agriculture and Livestock

5,000 visas


3,000 visas


2,000 visas

Service Industry

4,500 visas

Flexible Allocation (TBD)

20,000 visas distributed among industries experiencing higher demand

Key Dates for Businesses

Business owners can submit their applications from April 22 to May 3, with additional rounds in July and October.


What are the new industries included in the E-9 visa program?

Korean restaurants, hotels, resorts, forestry, and mining.

Which countries are eligible for the E-9 visa program?

When are the application periods for 2024?

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