SEOUL, July 27 (Korea Bizwire) – The number of foreigners in South Korea topped the 2 million mark as of June, accounting for 3.9 percent of the total population, government data showed Wednesday.
The number of foreigners in South Korea has been rising steadily since it reached the 1 million mark in 2007, according to the Ministry of Justice. From 2011 to 2015, the figure rose by an annual average of 8 percent.
By nationality, Chinese nationals topped the list at 50.6 percent of the total, followed by Americans at 7.8 percent and Vietnamese at 7.2 percent, the data showed.
The number of people living in the country for more than 90 days accounted for 74 percent of the total, while shorter-term visitors accounted for the remaining 26 percent, according to the data.
The number of long-term residents drastically increased from 219,962 in 2000 to 1,481,603 in June this year.
The ministry attributed the growth to the increase in the number of Chinese nationals staying long-term, as well as the general increase in those who get jobs, marry locals and study here.
In 2000, the number of Chinese staying in South Korea for the long-term stood at 58,984, but now, it is 807,076, according to the data.
Foreigners who get a job in South Korea increased almost by thirtyfold from 20,538 in 2000 to 608,867 in June 2016. The number of foreign spouses increased to 151,820, six times the number reported in 2001. The number of foreign students also increased from 4,015 in 2000 to 101,601, according to the data.
Among students from 172 countries studying here, Chinese made up 59.5 percent of the total.
More than 60 percent of foreigners staying in South Korea for the long-term lived in Seoul and its surrounding Gyeonggi Province.
Short-term visitor numbers also nearly doubled from 271,362 in 2000 to 520,225 this year.
The number of illegal immigrants stood at 10.6 percent of all foreigners in the country as of last month, the ministry said.