Busan Government Offering Cash Subsidies To Start Dating

Saha-gu, a district in Busan, is set to hold a blind date event in October, where the local government will provide cash subsidies of 1 million won ($721) or 500,000 won ($360) each to newly formed couples who meet at the event.

The Saha-gu district council passed a revised supplementary budget to fund the meeting day for local singles, a pilot project for which will take place in October, according to local media reports.

This project will select eligible singles in the district, born between 1981 to 2001, and host a matchmaking event. The applicants will be evaluated by the district office after submitting documents and an interview.

The local government will then provide more subsidies to the couple as it passes successive dating and marriage milestones.

For each couple formed through the event, the district will offer ₩500,000 KRW (about $362 USD) to each member of the pair. More subsidies will follow if they take the relationship forward. For example, if the couple are able to get their families to meet with the prospect of marriage in mind, the local government will pay each individual a further ₩1.00 million KRW (about $724 USD). If they tie the knot, Saha-gu will reward them with ₩20.0 million KRW (about $14,500 USD) in congratulatory money.

Saha-gu’s aim with this program is to combat the falling national birthrate, which has posed an existential threat to South Korea.

The district will also support newlyweds with a 30 million won ($21,650) housing deposit or 800,000 won ($577) in monthly rent for up to five years.

The district in Busan’s southwest plans to expand the program also to include foreign nationals residing or working in the district from next year, while hosting the meeting event once a month.

Lee Gap-jun Saha-gu district head told “This project is designed to overcome the demographic crisis amid South Korea’s low birth rate by forming a multicultural local community in the future.”

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