SEOUL, Sept. 22 (Korea Bizwire) – The number of people overstaying their visas in the country has persistently increased, with it posting 213,232 among 2,034,878 entrants as of July, data from the Justice Ministry said Thursday.
The July figure was a 27 percent rise from 167,780 in 2011.
However, the ratio of overstayers to entrants declined from 12 percent in 2011 to 10.5 percent, the data said.
“The number of visa overstayers has persistently increased every year, and yet the ratio has decreased due to a bigger increase in the number of entrants,” a ministry official said.
Of those staying in the country illegally, the number of those who entered the country by exploiting a visa-free system soared from 17,303 in 2011 to 20,558 in 2016, according to the data.
The ministry refused to disclose overstayers by nationality in consideration of diplomatic relations.
Most of the overstayers were Chinese and Southeast Asians in the past, but in recent years, the number of overstayers with Middle East and African nationalities has been reportedly on the rise.
The number of those deported to their homelands also grew from 18,248 in 2012 to 21,919 in 2015, about 10 percent of respective overstayers, the data said.
“Our position, in principle, is to send all overstayers back, and we continue to try to raise the deportation ratio,” the official said.