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Average foreign workers‘ annual pay likely to surpass W30m

Year-end tax adjustment program, offered by the tax authority (National Tax Service)
Year-end tax adjustment program, offered by the tax authority (National Tax Service)
SEJONG -- The average yearly wage for foreign workers in South Korea is estimated to have surpassed 30 million won ($25,000) for the first time in 2021, state data showed.

The prediction is based on the year-end tax adjustments of foreign employees for their earnings in 2020 and 2019.

According to the National Tax Service, about 545,000 foreign employees in the nation carried out year-end tax adjustments for their earnings in 2020. Their average wage posted 29.26 million won per annum, with the collective volume reaching 15.8 trillion won.

The tally for expatriate workers declined by 7 percent compared to 586,000 a year earlier in the wake of COVID-19, while the average wage increased by 7.1 percent from 27.32 million won in 2019.

Given the pace, there is a high possibility that the yearly payout in 2021 exceeded 30 million won on average. Alongside local employees, foreign employees are obliged to report year-end tax adjustments to the tax authority by the end of this month for their 2021 earnings.

By nationality, 36.3 percent (198,000 people) of the 545,000 foreign workers were Chinese nationals. Next on the list were workers from Vietnam, Nepal, Cambodia and the Philippines, the tax agency data showed.

But US nationals accounted for the largest portion in terms of tax report volume, according to the 2020 adjustment, with 363.3 billion won, or 37.8 percent of the total 962 billion won.

The collective tax report volume for foreign employees has continued to increase -- 721 billion won in 2016, 770 billion won in 2017, 783.6 billion won in 2018 and 904.3 billion won in 2019.

In 2021, the statutory minimum wage in Korea came to 21.86 million won per annum on the basis of the monthly minimum wage of 1.82 million won.

In 2022, yearly and monthly minimum wages climbed to 22.97 million won and 1.91 million won, respectively.

The nominal-based gross national income of Koreans per capita is estimated to have reached 37.62 million won as of 2020.

By Kim Yon-se (kys@heraldcorp.com)
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