200 Vietnamese students come to learn Korean, end up with illicit jobs

By Lim Jeong-yeo
  • Published : Oct 18, 2018 - 22:02
  • Updated : Oct 18, 2018 - 22:02

Immigration authorities said Wednesday they uncovered the irregular practices of a Korean agency that illegally hired Vietnamese students who entered the country to learn the local language.

Between November 2016 and August 2018, the agency, located in Gyeonggi Province, hired 262 Vietnamese university students and put them to work at various subcontractor firms for large-scale supermarkets’ distribution centers. The agency profiteered off the wages the students received. If a student earned 10,000 won ($8.80), the agency took 3,000 won. 


Authorities found the agency had even operated in Vietnam to select the students and help them through the process of getting in to classes for Korean language at universities here with the ultimate aim of illegally hiring them.

The Justice Ministry’s immigration department booked two men, 58 and 59 years old, who run the agency without detention and forwarded the case to the prosecutors’ office.

As the students’ class attendance was marked even during the period they were illegally working, the Ministry is continuing the investigation to find out if the universities were party to the scam.

The Korea Immigration Service has put up a notice on its website to inform people of a crackdown on illegal employment and the allowed period for the voluntary departure of foreigners.

Those illegally employed in Korea can voluntarily leave the country without being held accountable for their previous irregularities from this month, in a program that continues to March 31, 2019.

Foreign residents who are caught working in the construction industry illegally will be deported immediately regardless of the allowed period of stay. Foreign residents who do not leave voluntarily and are caught in the crackdown will be deported immediately, and the government of their home country could be notified.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (