The Justice Ministry said Tuesday that 8,093 foreign nationals who had been staying in Korea illegally voluntarily left in the period of one month, thanks to new incentives that exempt them from penalties if they leave by June 30 and allow them to reenter the country on short-term visas.
The daily average number of those leaving Korea more than doubled after the incentives were introduced on Dec. 11, the ministry said.
From March 1, those found to have overstayed their visas will be slapped with fines, and those who fail to pay will be permanently banned from reentering the country.
From July 1, fines will be imposed on even those who voluntarily leave the country.
While the ministry has decided to toughen penalties for employers of those staying here without authorization, employers who voluntarily report such hiring by March 31 will be exempted from fines and a measure that prohibits them from hiring foreigners for three years.
Unauthorized foreign nationals can declare their voluntary departures by submitting papers indicated on the websites of the Korea Immigration Service and Hi Korea.
The ministry recently signed an agreement with the Labor Ministry of Thailand to prevent Thais seeking unlawful employment in Korea from entering the country.
By Kim So-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org