Foreigners staying in Korea rebound to over 2 million

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Foreigners staying in Korea rebound to over 2 million

The number of foreigners staying in Korea bounced back above the 2 million mark last month for the first time in 15 months, immigration data showed Thursday.
According to data from the justice ministry's immigration policy bureau, 2,012,862 foreigners were staying in the country as of May, over the 2 million threshold for the first time since February 2021.
The May number marks a 1.3 percent rise, or 25,612, from the previous month.
Driven by an inflow of tourists and immigrant workers, the foreign population on short- and long-term stays here first hit the 2 million mark in June 2016 and grew to a record high of 2.52 million in December 2019.
The number began to slide the following month due to the onset of Covid-19 and dropped below the 2 million mark in March 2021.
Of the total foreign population as of May, some 424,000 were on short-term visa-free stays, which allows visitors to stay up to 90 days in Korea for travel or visitation purposes. That number was up 1.8 percent from a month ago.
Some 1.58 million others were on long-term stays, up 1.2 percent from a month ago.
"If this pace of recovery continues, the foreign population is expected to go back to the pre-pandemic level of 2.5 million around next year," an immigration official noted.
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