Number of foreigners entering South Korea for job hits 2nd largest ever in 2023

Number of foreigners entering South Korea for job hits 2nd largest ever in 2023
Photo credit: Yonhap

The number of foreigners who came to South Korea to get a job rose more than 25 percent on-year in 2023 to reach the second-largest figure ever, data showed Thursday, Yonhap reports.

The number of incoming foreigners increased 16.2 percent on-year to 480,000 last year, and 36.1 percent of them, or 173,000, came here for a job, according to the data from Statistics Korea.

The number of foreign job seekers who arrived here last year marked 25.5 percent on-year growth, and reached the second largest ever since 2000, when the agency began compiling the relevant data. South Korea saw the largest number of foreigners of 176,000 coming here for jobs in 2008.

The growth came as the government expanded the quota for non-professional employment visas (E-9) for foreign workers and eased rules on employment of overseas Koreans, according to agency officials.

Some 21 percent of the foreign entrants last year came here for a short-term stay, followed by 17.3 percent for study and other training programs and 12.1 percent for marriage and permanent residency.

By nation, 132,000 Chinese entered South Korea last year, followed by 71,000 people from Vietnam and 35,000 from Thailand.

The number of foreigners who left the country last year advanced 30.5 percent to 319,000, resulting in a net inflow of 161,000 foreigners.

The number of incoming South Korean nationals rose 13.2 percent to 219,000, and the number of outbound Koreans fell 5.6 percent to 258,000.

Accordingly, the country saw a net outflow of 39,000 Koreans in 2023.

Including both South Korean passport holders and foreigners, the number of international migrants rose 13.5 percent on-year to 1.28 million last year.

International immigrants mean those who made cross-border movements while staying for more than 90 days here.

Of the total, the number of entrants climbed 15.2 percent on-year to 698,000, and the number of those who left the country moved up 11.4 percent to 577,000 last year, leading to a net inflow of 121,000, the second yearly gain after the COVID-19 pandemic, the data showed.

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