Published : 2013-01-13 10:57
Updated : 2013-01-13 10:57
More than one third of foreign manual workers staying in South Korea under a work permit system overstay their visas, the Justice Ministry said Sunday.
Statistics by the ministry showed that 15,804 foreigner workers, or 37.3 percent of the 42,379 whose E-9 non-professional work visa expired in the first 10 months of 2012, failed to get out of the country.
South Korea introduced a work permit system in 2004 in which laborers from 15 countries are allowed to work here for up to three years with an E-9 visa. After three years, holders of the visa must go back to their home countries to get it renewed for another two years.
The number of foreign workers with expired E-9 visas rose 8,620 to 53,252 last year, ministry data showed.
The increase represents 67.9 percent of the total growth in illegal aliens last year.
Immigration officials detected and evicted 3,023 foreigners with expired E-9 visas last year.
"Illegal aliens tend to stay in the country for long," said Lee Kyu-hong of the ministry in charge of illegal foreigners. "Those workers whose work permits are set to expire have shown inclinations to settle down in South Korea."
Cambodia was the biggest provider of manual workers last year with 2,117 Cambodians arriving here in the first nine months last year, accounting for 19.3 percent of 10,962 newcomers from 15 countries, Statistics Korea data showed.
Vietnam followed with 1,937, Indonesia with 1,047, Thailand with 945 and Myanmar with 859. (Yonhap News)