Number of foreign residents hits 1.4 mil
By Kim Bo-eun
The number of foreign residents in Korea increased 11 percent to 1.4 million in January from a year earlier, the Ministry of Public Administration and Security said Thursday.
This represents 2.8 percent of the nation’s total population of 50.7 million.
Foreigners include those staying in the country for longer than 90 days.
The increase is attributable to more children being born to foreign residents, the ministry said.
Foreign couples or biracial families had 168,583 babies marking an increase of 17,429 from last year. The figure is around 3.8 times the figure for 2007 which was 44,258.
Among the foreign population, 20.7 percent were of Korean ethnicity and 79.3 were not.
According to nationality, Chinese including Chinese-Koreans numbered the highest at 55.4 percent followed by the Vietnamese (11.5 percent), Americans (4.9 percent), and Filipinos (4.2 percent).
Foreign workers accounted for 41.8 percent, marriage immigrants 10.2 percent, ethnic Koreans with foreign nationality 9.6 percent and students 6.2 percent.
“Foreign residents are increasing by more than 10 percent every year in the capital and provincial industrial areas, with 42 local governments having a population exceeding 1 million,” a ministry official said. “The local authorities’ role therefore in helping them settle and adjust will be crucial.”
He also added that the ministry will establish an administrative system to provide support to the foreign residents and prevent the neighborhoods in which they are concentrated from becoming slums.