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Foreigners in Korea number 500,000

Posted November. 19, 2000 19:16,   


The number of foreigners staying in Korea exceeded the 500,000 mark for the first time at the end of last month, the Ministry of Justice said Sunday.

As of Oct. 28, the number of foreigners staying here on long-term visas of 90 days or more and short-term visa of 30 days or less totaled 502,591 from 176 countries, ministry officials said.

This is an 86.1 percent increase from the 269,000 registered in 1995. The number of foreigners in Korea had dropped in recent years due to the currency crisis that erupted in late 1997. In 1998, the number of foreigners decreased to 308,000 from 386,000 in the previous year, but began to rise again last year, when there was a total of 380,100.

By nationality, Chinese made up the biggest group with 153,930 (30.6 percent), followed by 86,607 Americans (17.2 percent), 40,046 Japanese (7.1 percent) and 24,951 (4.9 percent) Taiwanese. Ethnic Korean Chinese numbered 88,502 or 17.6 percent.

However, the ministry said that about 177,000 of the foreign residents were found to be staying illegally. This large figure proves illegal immigration is still a serious problem in Korea, it added.