SEOUL, Jul. 13 (Korea Bizwire) — With K-pop music breaking global music records, the number of international students who arrived in South Korea last year to study Korean also reached an all-time high.
And for the first time, the number of language students surpassed those who were in the nation to earn an academic degree. This is according to a new statistical analysis released yesterday by Statistic Korea.
The total number of international migrants (defined as those who stay in the nation for longer than 90 days) was 453,000 people for those entering South Korea in 2017, up 50,000 from the previous year, while 349,000 people left the country, also an increase of 24,000 people.
In addition, the 154,000 young people in their 20s represented the largest demographic of those entering the country, but compared to the year previous, there was a significant increase across all age groups.
Among the visitors, 38.6 percent were in the nation short-term, while 26.7 percent came to the country for work, 12.8 percent were students and 11.5 percent were overseas Koreans.
The number of students either studying the language or working towards a degree amounted to 58,000 last year, which was the highest number yet on record.
The number of students studying Korean (30,000 people) outnumbered those working on a degree (28,000) for the first time in history, which, experts say, may be propelled by the success of K-pop.
Meanwhile, the number of foreign workers in South Korea fell by 7,000 to 121,000 people.
The number of non-professional workers dropped significantly, according to Statistics Korea, because the government lowered quotas for foreign laborers.
In addition, 88,000 individuals entered the nation visa-free, which was the highest number since Statistics Korea started recording figures for the category.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)