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Half of the foreign workers living in Korea earn between 2 million and 3 million won per month

The number of foreign residents in South Korea exceeded 1.4 million for the first time as the number of foreigners with E-9 visas working in non-professional jobs and international students increased due to the COVID-19 endemic. If including naturalized immigrants who have acquired South Korean citizenship, the number of immigrants will nearly reach 1.5 million.

According to the results of the 2023 Immigrant Stay and Employment Survey released by Statistics Korea on Dec. 18, there were 1.43 million foreigners aged 15 and older who stayed in Korea for more than 90 days as of May 2023. This was a 9.9 percent increase from a year ago and the largest number ever. Among them, the number of employed foreigners stood at 923,000, the highest number ever.

Both the number of foreigners and the number of foreign workers are the highest since the Korean government began to compile such statistics in 2012. However, the number of naturalized Koreans (aged 15 and over) who acquired Korean citizenship within the last five years sat at 51,000 in 2023, about 1,000 fewer compared to 2022.

By nationality, Korean-Chinese including ethnic Koreans accounted for 33.0 percent of the total. They were followed by Vietnamese (14.1 percent). Only 9.7 percent of immigrants were non-Asians. By industry, mining and manufacturing (44.6 percent) were the most common industries where they worked. These were followed by retail, accommodation, and food services (18.4 percent), business, private and public services (15.5 percent), and construction (12.15 percent). In addition, 33.2 percent of employed foreigners were temporary and casual workers.

Qualitatively, their situations were somewhat better than in the past. The largest proportion (50.6 percent) earned an average wage of 2 million to 3 million won (US$1,530 to US$2,295) per month. This was followed by 35.8 percent earning more than 3 million won per month. The proportion of those earning more than 3 million won swelled by 5.7 percentage points from a year ago. This means that one in three foreign workers earned more than 3 million won per month, the largest share ever. This is due to the fact that there were more highly educated and highly paid foreign workers than in the past.

The average monthly wage of Korean wage earners stood at three million won as of August this year. Moreover, 78.5 percent of the foreign workers said their wages were similar to those of Korean workers doing similar jobs in terms of work hours and 67.7 percent in terms of wages.

Foreigners living in Korea spent the most of their earnings on living expenses (39.4 percent). They wired 23.2 percent of their income outside of Korea such as to their home countries. Only 15.7 percent went into savings.

The increase in foreign residents in South Korea was mainly driven by young people. By age group, young adults (15 to 29 years old) increased by nearly 70,000 from 347,000 in 2022 to 416,000 in 2023, accounting for 29.1 percent of all the foreign resident in Korea. Those in their 30s ascended by 33,000 to 396,000 (27.7 percent). Those in their 40s and 60s or older also increased by 12,000 (15.5 percent) and 18,000 (13.0 percent) to 222,000 and 186,000, respectively, compared to the previous year. However, the number of those in their 50s fell by 5,000 (14.7 percent).

According to the results of Future Population Projections (2022-2072) released by Statistics Korea on Dec. 14, the percentage of the working-age population (15 to 64 years old) in the total population in Korea is expected to plummet from 71.1 percent in 2022 to 45.8 percent in 2072 due to the country’s demographic structure.

By status of residence, the count of non-professional workers and international students inflated by 60,000 and 25,000, respectively, while the number of visitor workers (H-2 visa holders) and marriage migrants decreased by 10,000 and 3,000, respectively. Of the 1.43 million foreign nationals, the largest number were overseas Koreans (386,000), followed by non-professional workers (269,000), international students (188,000), permanent residents (131,000), and marriage immigrants (120,000). Nepalese (39,000), Cambodians (39,000), and Vietnamese (32,000) were the most common foreign nationalities in non-professional employment.

The employment rate for foreigners fell 0.3 percentage points year on year to 64.5 percent due to an increase in international students. Foreign workers in their 30s or younger took the lead in increasing the number of foreign workers. Those in their 30s accounted for 33.3 percent of the total, up 30,000 from the previous year. Those aged 15 to 29 also climbed by 41,000 or 23.2 percent to 214,000. Those in their 30s and younger accounted for more than half (56.5 percent) of those employed.

Meanwhile, 30.0 percent of the students said they came to Korea to study because of the high quality of education in Korea. This was followed by 21.9 percent because their majors were well suited to their interests and 10.6 percent because they believed that their Korean degrees will help them find decent jobs. Compared to three years ago, the percentage of students who chose to study in Korea because of the quality of curricula in Korea ascended by 4.2 percentage points and that of students who chose to study in Korea because they judged that it will help them get good jobs shrank by 2.8 percentage points.

More than six in ten (63.0 percent) international students said that they wanted to stay in Korea after graduation. This was an 8.3 percentage point jump from three years ago.

Source : Businesskorea(https://www.businesskorea.co.kr)
HaB Korea.net HaB Korea.net (13,489 Point) · 2024-04-17 14:04 · Views 459
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