S. Korea posts decline in foreign population for 2nd yr in 2021

SEOUL– South Korea saw its foreign population shrink by 1 percent last year from the previous year, marking a decline for the second year in a row, the interior ministry said Monday.

According to a report by the Ministry of the Interior and Safety, the number of foreign residents had stood at 2.13 million as of Nov. 1, 2021, compared with 2.14 million the same day a year earlier. The number includes foreign nationals residing in the country for more than 90 days, and naturalized Koreans and their children.

It marks the second year in a row the country has reported a fall in its foreign population since relevant statistics were first compiled in 2006.

Of them, the population of foreign workers without Korean nationality had decreased by 13.2 percent on-year as of November last year, the report showed.

“There is concern over a manpower shortage in rural areas, as the number of foreign workers shrank,” said Choi Hoon, a ministry official.

The report showed the number of naturalized Koreans had come to 210,880 as of November last year, up 9.9. percent from a year earlier.

Gyeonggi Province surrounding the capital Seoul was hosting the biggest number of foreign residents by region, with 714,497, or 33.5 percent of the total foreign population.

Seoul was hosting roughly 20 percent, followed by Incheon, west of Seoul, with 6.3 percent.

The ministry said the statistics have been compiled to help central and municipal government agencies formulate policies aimed at helping foreign residents better settle down in the country.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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