Some 11,000 foreign nationals who initially entered South Korea as international students are in the country illegally, having overstayed their visas, data released by a lawmaker showed.
The report, released by Rep. Kim Hae-young of the ruling Democratic Party, showed that the number of such individuals had increased 97.7 percent since 2016, from 5,652 to 11,176.
International students in South Korea ateend a job fair at COEX in central Seoul on Oct. 1. (Yonhap)
The largest proportion, 20 percent, live in Seoul, while 14.5 percent live in Gyeonggi Province. Those in North Gyeongsang Province accounted for 7.5 percent of the total, while those in North Jeolla Province and Busan made up 5.9 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively.
According to a 2017 report from the Ministry of Education, 123,858 foreign students were attending Korean postsecondary education institutions as of last year.
About 55.1 percent were from China, followed by Vietnam (11.8 percent) and Mongolia (4.3 percent). Students also came from Japan, the US, Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan.
Of all international students who were studying in Korea last year, 89 percent were financing their own education. International students are charged higher tuition than Korean nationals.
A total of 842 students were studying on scholarships obtained in their home countries, while 3,175 were invited to study here by the Korean government. Some 7,700 were on university scholarships.
“Many (Korean) universities now seek to bring in more international students as the number of Korean students keeps dropping (due to the low fertility rate),” Rep. Kim said.
“But it seems like they should introduce programs to support international students after they get their degrees in Korea.”