Chinese Jeju Emigration in 2016

Chinese citizens can have a hard time finding permanent residence in other countries. In most cases Chinese people need to get a visa just to visit other nations. But Jeju Island is a major exception. The Chinese economy has been booming in recent years. Chinese Jeju emigration — moving to Jeju Island — is also changing the face of wealth in Asia. And yet most people outside of the region have never even heard of Jeju, the little paradise that calls itself a “Free International City where the provincial citizens are happy”. For Chinese people its great appeal is that almost anyone can move there and get permanent residence with no need for a visa. The only thing required for Chinese Jeju emigration is a bit of money to invest.

Chinese Jeju emigration to Jeju Island


 How to Get Residency in Jeju Island

Jeju Island might belong to South Korea but it’s not very much like its parent country. Barely half a million foreigners live in the whole of South Korea. Jeju on the other hand has been transformed by international investment.  Jeju’s strategy is to be as open, friendly and welcoming as possible. This is an excellent way to attract international wealth. Because of its closeness to China it isn’t cheap. But it has mountains, beaches and beautiful landscapes. Anyone thinking about investing in property in China might just as well do it on Jeju Island. Here, a little bit of paradise is for sale.

Chinese Jeju emigration is quite straightforward. Investors must buy a property worth 500 million Korean won. This is about $416,000 US dollars. It isn’t cheap. However there are plenty of people in China with this kind of money. Properties can’t be purchased for renting out. They have to be houses people are going to actually live in. But if you’ve bought your house and you’re going to live in it, getting residence status is easy.  All you need to do to get residence status for three years is to show proof of purchase and your passport. You can continue to renew your residential status for as long as you own the property.

The government must have proof that you can financially support yourself and your family. You need to show you have the money to live on Jeju. After five years you can request permanent residence and get a South Korean passport. You just need to have stayed out of trouble. There’s no real requirement that anyone should speak Korean either. Basically if you have enough money Jeju Island welcomes you.

Chinese Jeju emigration

A beach on Jeju Island

How Chinese Jeju Emigration Is Changing Jeju Island

Mass Chinese Jeju emigration began to get serious in 2012. At this point the move was limited mostly to tourists but by the beginning of 2013 Chinese investment was soaring. Chinese immigrants were bringing wealth and jobs to Jeju. Property investment has reshaped the Jeju economy and increased the price of land. The previously sleepy island is now full of hotels, casinos and condos. In 2014 the amount of land owned by Chinese individual citizens and developers increased by 100%. This was  largely because permanent residence in Jeju is so easy to come by. Chinese residents in Jeju Island have the same education, employment and medical benefits as South Korean citizens. Jeju is only an hour by plane from Shanghai or 2.5 hours from Beijing so travel is cheap and convenient. 2.9 million Chinese people visited Jeju in 2014. This is not counting those who actually moved there. Chinese investment is allowing Jeju to recreate itself as a global resort. 8.34 million squares miles of Jeju are now owned by the Chinese.

Chinese Emigration Elsewhere

Jeju island is not the only place China’s millionaires are going. The Shanghai research firm Hurun Report found that 64% of China’s rich are emigrating already. Those who aren’t plan to do so in the future. China is continually growing and improving. But other countries attract rich Chinese because of better health conditions and less pollution. Many rich businessmen who first started the rise of the Chinese economy are moving out. They want to secure places for their retirement. These include  the US and Canada. In 2015 the USA issued 6895 visas to Chinese people. A US program lets foreigners live in America if they can invest at least $500,000. Other popular destinations include Australia. Chinese is now the second most commonly spoken language there.

But while other countries do welcome the Chinese, they require a lot more money than Jeju Island does. In Australia Chinese must invest $3.5 million dollars if they want to apply for permanent residency. In the UK $1.5 million dollars need to be invested. Canada has now cancelled its investment visa because too many Chinese applicants had applied. The Canadian government stated that too many wealthy Chinese immigrants had caused property prices in Vancouver to get too high for the original residents.

Chinese jeju emigration

Jeju, the Investors’ Paradise

In comparison to some countries it’s easy to see why Jeju Island draws so many Chinese visitors. You need to have money to invest. But the Chinese millionaires who are moving out definitely do.  Unlike the US Jeju is close and convenient. It has a rising Chinese population. There are beautiful beaches and scenery. It’s pollution free. No visa is required. Jeju really is a paradise. Chinese Jeju emigration looks set to continue.