JEJU, March 4 (Korea Bizwire) — The Jeju Immigration Office in South Korea’s southern resort island of Jeju quickly became a scene of chaos with Chinese illegal aliens lined up to flee the country.
Some 200 people rushed to report on Tuesday that they would voluntarily leave South Korea. There were even instances of physical fights between illegal immigrants.
Chinese illegal aliens, who have been hiding to outrun the police, are flocking to escape Jeju.
To prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Ministry of Justice has been encouraging illegal immigrants to voluntarily leave the country since January by exempting them from entry bans and fines and giving them a chance to reenter.
More than anything else, concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus in South Korea and the fact that the economy has stagnated due to interruptions in business operations are also hastening the departure of illegal Chinese immigrants.
“There are still a lot of people in my neighborhood who do not wear masks,” said a Chinese woman in her 40s who had been living illegally on Jeju for the past year.
“I decided to go back because my family members in China are becoming concerned.”
Another Chinese individual said, “With the COVID-19 outbreak, the way Koreans see Chinese people is deeply disapproving, so I will go back as soon as I can find a flight.”
The immigration office estimates that there are about 10,000 illegal aliens residing on the island.
From Feb. 1 to 25, 230 illegal aliens reported their voluntary departure from the province and 54 left the country. Another 176 are currently on standby to leave the country.
While the number of undocumented immigrants leaving the country is increasing, the only available flight that directly connects Jeju and China is Spring Airlines, a Chinese low-cost carrier.
Thus, the number of people on standby to leave South Korea is expected to increase further.
Under the Immigration Control Law, the head of the Jeju Immigration Office will issue an order for those who wish to leave the country by setting an exit deadline within 30 days for foreigners who want to voluntarily leave the country.
As a result, there is a difference between the date of the voluntary departure report and the date on which an individual actually voluntarily leaves the country.
Lina Jang (email@example.com)