1 in 5 foreigners undocumented in South Korea

Data supplied by the Justice Ministry today revealed that one out of five foreigners in South Korea is living in the country illegally.

The report states that about 400,000 foreigners are living undocumented in the Southeast Asian country, its highest in two years.

It is believed the number of illegal foreigners staying in Korea rose from 388,000 last December to 394,000 in May, with a monthly average addition of 1,000 this year.

Foreigners living in Korea were recorded at 2,081,350 in July.

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1 in 5 foreigners undocumented in South Korea | News by Thaiger

It is believed most migrant workers have overstayed their visa expiry date. Some 34.3% percent of illegal foreigners have not returned after their 90-day visa expired. Foreigners in the country without a permit for a lengthy period were estimated at 135,000 as of July, up 12.8%.

Earlier this month South Korean Immigration officials revealed that 55 Thai tourists went missing on Jeju Island. They said 280 Thai tourists entered the country through Jeju International Airport but 55 of them went AWOL.

South Korea operates the K-ETA system, which allows people from 112 visa-waiver countries, including Thailand, to obtain electronic travel authority online before traveling. But the Seoul government has exempted foreign arrivals through the Jeju International Airport from the K-ETA because Jeju is a tourist spot.

K-ETA was introduced by South Korea because the country has a problem with illegal migrant workers. The number of Thais working legally in South Korea is around 18,000. But the number of Thais illegally working in South Korea is thought to be as high as 140,000.


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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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