Thanks for the extra info, Anne!
That's an interesting article you linked to. From my experience, converting a $50K/D8 into a corporation, they required the FULL complete re-investiment of $100K, not just the difference. I was in a slightly different boat, that is, I had a D8 partnership, not a sole-proprietorship, and therefore I didn't HAVE to change the company structure. That might be part of the reason they were stricter on me.
That brings up something the article doesn't seem to mention, nor did any other resources I could find online. They seem to be ignoring the D8 partnerships. From what I can piece together, one other option that a D8 sole-proprietor has would be to take on a partner and become a partnership. What I'm not clear is whether that would trigger immigration requiring the person to re-invest, since they could argue he is now making a completely new company (rather than just adding a partner to an existing one). If it were me, I would be wary of that "solution" - if you extend the "logic" which resulted in raising the minimum FDI investment and also banning sole-proprietorships, it only seems to follow that banning partnerships will soon follow. That's just my guess, however, not even a rumor.
Finally, I'm not sure why that article even mentions the holders F-series visas. As I understand it, those people don't need any kind of visa endorsement to form and/or work in any company. The only possible issue might be if their company needs he FDI certification for some other, non-visa, reason (i've heard there are a few instances where this is needed). Shucks, I've known F-series foreigners who "have" a company that was entirely in their spouses name - officially during their time in Korea, they didn't earn one single won - all the profits were legally earned by the spouse. That might be one way to avoid any new F-series visa work/company ownership prohibitions that this article hints at.
Re the information page on K4E - it was posted back in September or October and was based on the government memo, so likely that included the F-visa references. While we can appreciate the problem the government is attempting to address, this may not be the most effective way of doing so. Some of the unintended consequences may be worse from their perspective than the current abuse they want to fix.
As for partnerships, to my knowledge these are usually (but not always) treated differently from foreign solely owned companies. Would be interested in hearing from others about their experiences.
That agrees with what we were told. Had we wanted to, we were told that we could have continued our D8 partnership without any adjustments, reinvestment or anything (but we needed to change to a corporation for other reasons). I just wondered why the immigration notice, which alerted D8 sole proprietors had to change, didn't also mention that making a D8 partnership was a third solution - unless for some unknown reason it is now impossible.
As I understand it, the rule banning D8 sole proprietors was kind of a separate rule from the one which is going to raise the minimum investment amount. They may be connected in concept at the high levels of policy makers, but I thought they were two different (new) rules.
Banning D8 sole proprietorships is one thing - charging a higher fee for non-Koreans to incorporate an existing business is another. Expect a lot more people who want to open businesses will be looking at marriage as the best 'partnership' option...one of those unintended consequences. Possible that as they evaluate the effects of the policy, they may discover that there are other, more effective, ways of solving the 'fake' business problem.
To be clear, they didn't charge us any extra to incorporate our existing company. Rather, the extra was in order to maintain our company's FDI certificate, and hence maintain my D8 visa. That's a subtle distinction, but yeah, your point is well taken.
Even more subtle, there is a very slight but real difference between foreign investment for FDI certificate purposes and for visa purposes. These are almost always the same thing, but can be separate. For example, during my renewal process, for a few months it appeared we might get an FDI certificate from KOTRA without reinvesting any more money. But immigration said that if that happened, they would still likely deny the visa. I've heard that in theory the opposite could happen, a company could invest enough to satisfy immigration but not KOTRA, but stay spect that very rarely happens.
Thanks for this. I saw another email on this a couple weeks ago too, so it appears that the W300 million requirement has not been implemented. I haven't seen anything directly though; still waiting for something that would feel more official...