South Korea saw its foreign population shrink by 1 per cent in 2021 from the previous year, marking a decline for a second year in a row, the Interior Ministry said on Monday.
According to a report by the Ministry, the number of foreign residents had stood at 2.13 million as of November 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 naturalised Koreans and their children, Yonhap News Agency quoted the report as saying.
It marked 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 per cent 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 a Ministry official.
The report showed the number of naturalised Koreans had come to 210,880 as of November last year, up 9.9. per cent 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 per cent of the total foreign population.
Seoul was hosting roughly 20 per cent, followed by Incheon, west of the capital city, with 6.3 per cent.
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.