Foreign Expatriates in Korea Top One Million

    August 27, 2007 09:21

    The number of foreign residents in Korea surpassed one million as of last Friday, the Ministry of Justice said.

    There are 1,000,254 foreigners in Korea including illegal residents, long term residents and those staying for less than 90 days, the ministry said.

    Foreign residents now account for two percent of Korea's registered population of 49.13 million, indicating that the country is transforming into a multiracial society, the ministry said.

    The foreign expatriate population increased 2.6 times from ten years ago when it was 386,972. Much of the growth came from a steady increase in the number of long term residents -- those registered with immigration authorities to live here for more than 91 days. Their numbers total 724,967, up from just 40,519 in 1980.

    Of those long term residents, 404,051 are in industrial trainee programs, 104,749 are married with Koreans and 47,479 are students. The number of foreign immigrants married to Koreans is currently 104,749, tripled from 34,710 in 2002.

    By nationality, Chinese account for 44 percent of all foreign residents with 441,334 including 266,764 ethnic Koreans. Americans were the second largest group with 117,938, followed by Vietnamese with 64,464, Filipinos with 50,264 and Thais with 42,792.

    Foreigners from the top five nationalities account for about 70 percent of all expatriates. Also on the list were Japanese, Taiwanese and Indonesians.

    The statistics also show a steady increase in illegal foreign residents. Their numbers increased 1.5 times from 148,048 in 1997 to 225,273 in 2007.

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