Illegal Koreans in the Philippines?

South Korea is not a paradise and for some Koreans the land of milk and honey could be found overseas. It is no secret that there are tens of thousands of Koreans living in the Philippines but how many of them are there with valid visas? In a report published in Korea Times, it says that there are about 320,000 Koreans living illegally abroad. Most of them are in the United States. Many are in Japan and in the Philippines.

However, the data also showed dark side of Koreans abroad. About 320,000 were illegal residents in foreign countries in 2007, with 235,000 staying in the U.S. At the same time, Japan and the Philippines also marked a high number of illegal Korean residents. Considering these people do not identify themselves out of fear of deportation, the actual number is expected to be much higher, Lim said.
Read the complete article here.

Koreans have now become the biggest tourist group in the Philippines. Many travel to the country to study – English and college. There are some who have set-up their small businesses employing both Filipinos and English. And a friend said that there are gangsters there too?
I wonder if there are more Filipino TNTs in Korea or is it the other way around – more Korean TNTs in the Philippines? Doesn’t matter, they’re both illegal 😀


  1. lol, that is mean, but it is an interesting fact…
    I am not surprised that most are in the US. I am no expert, but isn’t the death toll mentioned in the article just a fact that will happen as the number happens? And although death sucks, that crime toll is relatively low.
    While I see the importance of immigration laws and being illegal, I wish it was easier or at least more streamlined so fears like being deported without a trial weren’t fears they needed.

  2. I saw this over the news and I wonder why Koreans afraid of legalizing their stay in the Philippines? Are they not allowed here or are they afraid of our BOI “gatasan system”?

  3. here in Gwangju we don’t have illegal workers, we call them “MALAYA”, they are free to choose which company to work with and no string attached…
    they claim that they should have the rights to get job and it is in Korea where they can find those jobs although their status as migrant workers are not recognize.
    so they are Free!
    peterahons last blog post..Luntiang (green) Salad

  4. hi betch, i used to say that i was wary of meeting pinoys here in korea… but i came to realize, whether they are illegal or not, it’s not for me to judge them. i am sure they have reasons beyond me to understand.
    while there are illegal koreans in the phils, i personally think it would be unfair to blame their status or their hesitancy to legalize their stay in the phils to our government agency :-).
    wendys last blog post..The Circus Begins

  5. @AzureWolf >> and i bet there are more illegal Filipinos in the US… LOL
    @Crissy >> i think it’s a combination of ignorance and arrogance…
    @peterahon >> again, what is sad is that they have to flee the home country and find work in another country
    @wendy >> you should still be wary of the people you meet here… illegal or not 🙂

  6. so many koreans here in the Phils whether on the mall or at the beaches hehe some even end up on fights on bars whenever koreans get drunk hehe funny though theres one incident that a korean got a car accident, he even hit the policeman on his face and then continuously hugged the police after realizing that the one he hits is an officer, lol! and that was caught on cam and even was shown in saksi 😛
    joanjoyces last blog post..Yahoo Operations Now OPEN in Manila

  7. i never thought there’d be illegal Koreans in the Philippines..
    I cant remember what year the Koreans started participating in the Baguio Flower Festival== the first time i saw the Korean community in Baguio in their Hanboks and the men in their costumes when dancing, i think that’s their costume for the Full Moon fest… they all seemed friendly, always smiling and bowing to the expectators…. that time, Koreans were still unnoticed since the korean pop culture didnt reach Philippines yet…
    but there’s this Korean man i know who hates Philippines (as he repeatedly tells me) such that he doesnt eat filipino food except for the adobo i brought before for my husband… but he doesnt want to leave Philippines because he’s still waiting (for over a year now) for those pinoys who borrowed hundreds of thousands from him to return his money… I repeatedly told him to better return to korea and start anew, for his peace of mind… It never occurred to me though if his stay here is illegal or not. I guess, they are also bound by reasons like his’.

  8. my mom used to teach Koreans and she asked her students why they are here in the philippines. they told her it’s because life in the philippines is affordable.
    now i see koreans everywhere in manila, cebu and cagayan de oro. i had no idea some of them are not here legally. i honestly thought TNT was popular among filipinos only. i guess i was wrong
    graces last blog post..Blissfully Clueless

  9. For abusive illegals, file a complete complaint with the BOI with full names and circumstances, and full known address of the illegals and establishments that hire them illegally. even those will be closed.

    Bureau of Immigration, Philippines
    BI Helpdesk
    1-800-100-254367 (24/7 Toll Free)
    Bureau of Immigration Main Office
    Magallanes Drive, Intramuros, Manila
    +632 527-3260 | +632 527-3248
    Office of Commissioner Marcelino C. Libanan
    2nd Floor Bureau of Immigration Bldg.
    Magallanes Drive, Intramuros, Manila
    +632 301-0756
    Office of Associate Commissioner Roy M. Almoro
    2nd Floor Bureau of Immigration Bldg.
    Magallanes Drive, Intramuros, Manila
    +632 338-4536 | +632 338-4537
    +632 527-5654
    Office of Associate Commissioner Enrique B. Galang, Jr.
    2nd Floor Bureau of Immigration Bldg.
    Magallanes Drive, Intramuros, Manila
    +632 527-3316 | +632 527-5655 (Telefax)

  10. well, there are really a lot of koreans here in the philippines.Some put up English Academy schools where they pay teachers 50-70 pesos an hour!!!what the heck!!! and in fact the korean students will pay thousands of pesos in a month to study English.One student’s pay for one month is enough to pay all the teachers in a year!
    micas last blog post..Seoul: 5th most expensive city

    1. In the Philippines, particularly in Bacolod City, where Korean Language Centers Abound, the pay for private school teachers measly averages PhP60.00 an hour, while those of call center agents goes about PhP53.00 an hour. If these Koreans, would provide livelihood and better pay (PhP65.00 an hour), ain’t it far better that they bring the money to these hardworking tutors rather than hand them in to the B.I for their papers?
      Greed of the rich, and crab mentality… those are the real problems.

  11. holla! Im a Filipina teaching English for some Korean teenagers.. Im just so interested about your culture. I found my Korean students jolly and at the same time serious.. I have nothing against Koreans and Im glad to know that you’re enjoying your stay here in the Philippines..

  12. I love to see Koreans become Filipino Citizens too where we can call then KorNoys…Philippines has been well known as one of the most diverse countries in the world where racism is not common as a Filipino people originated from mixed of races… such as Spain, America, Japan, Chinese, Malaysians, Indonesians, Arabs and African origins.. and also, Filipino culture has been assimilated closely to the western world in particular… the Americans.. Filipinos should welcome Koreans wholeheartedly and be a part of them to make them more diverse!…

    1. One thing we Pinoys need to realize is we need to “wake up,” we are so tanga and easy with these new migrants or illegals, (mostly). We are so welcoming with this big waves of Koreans. They love to settle in our country due to the weather, or business, etc. But, I am not a fan of these people, they could be so abusive, especially with our women, and believe me…they will own the Philippines one day, and we would be working for peanuts under them, just like the Chinese are doing now to our people. We need to wake up and control the booming population of these people. “Do we Pinoys really want to see stores, shops, restaurants, churches, buildings, billboards, schools, etc, etc in Korean characters? I tell you, we will be homeless one day…they just multiply so fast. I had witness an abusive intoxicated Korean guy in a bar, and wanted to create some trouble…and I hear the same stories like these from friends and in the news…they really look at us low people…and would not respond to their demeaning actions. And, the number one reason we people should realize why they love to stick their heads in the Philippines is due to the fact, that North Korean missiles are all pointed to them…meaning, once the tension builds up, they could easily go to their new homes in the Philippines. Sad to know these facts, but true. These “Garlic Breathes” should be controlled, that’s what I’d say, period!

  13. Like just what they said, it’s not for me to judge.
    If Koreans find Philippines comfortable and affordable to live in, it’s alright but the government should put up limitations when it comes to staying here.
    For example, I’m a MassComm student and one of my professors told us that Koreans takes over businesses. Instead of Filipinos owning businesses, Koreans own them and us, Filipinos, work for them.
    Another concern is the deforestation of trees in Subic just to construct a casino. I mean, you can’t do it in your own country so you try it to another one.
    I think these are the things should be considered when permitting foreigners in the Philippines.

  14. it goes both ways– illegal koreans in the phil while there are also illegal filipinos in korea. Do you think it’s fair when the korean govt limits the amount of oversea filipino workers in korea just because on the issue of illegal filipinos in their country and at the same time the filipino govt are welcoming koreans with open arms— hmmm that makes me wonder…..

  15. I wonder why the Koreans like to stay here in the Philippines,for I have been and worked in Korea for 3 years and I see the goodness, politeness of the Koreans and their nice country,although very cold during winter time!Whew!!!Imagine negative temp. Maybe climate is one of the reason why they choose to live or stay here for long..but its better if they stay here legally. I believe there are small amounts for them to pay the BOI here.So, Koreans dont stay here illegally,for you to enjoy the beauty and the hospitality of the Filipinos.

  16. 235,000 Koreans is still a much smaller number than the number of illegals who came from the Philippines to the U.S. in 2007. That number registers closer to 400,000.
    Koreans go to the Philippines for the same reason many Americans do–it’s substantially cheaper to visit or live there. However, with a declining economy in both countries (the Philippines and Korea) I don’t think you’re going to have to worry much longer about visiting Koreans. But think about this, how will your economy be when they are not there any longer spending money?
    Koreans would not dare treat Americans with anything but respect in the United States because the average American will not tolerate anything less. Americans would not allow all of these questionable businesses and the way our government is structured if they managed to actually open they wouldn’t be in business long. Plus it can cost astronomical amounts of money to open a business in the United States–and people here dont’ pay people off. Anyone can open a business here but not without a lot of money and playing by the rules. Over here if someone tried to pay off a police officer they would find themselves in jail.
    Another thing I find interesting is this backlash against Koreans. How do people in your country treat foreigners? Many foreigners are solicited mercilessly because it is felt they are rich, which in they own country they are not. I understand that in a country where many have so little these visitors seem rich but does that make this kind of behavior right?
    I know someone who moved to the Philippines from the United States. He relocated so that he could help people in need and was teaching for almost free. He was far from rich; just a big hearted person. Sadly, he has been lied to, cheated, had virtually everything stolen from him and been threatened by the police (who tried to get money from him). and this is more than once.
    Despite the negative press, most of the United States does not have anywhere near this amount or type of crime. Many foreigners have misconceptions of our country based on movies or other media but the reality is we are no more violent than many countries, just more scrutized.
    In the United States certain behaviors are illegal and American’s are lucky enough to be able to take legal action against those who wrong them. This keeps most employers and police honest. We have our exceptions but for the size of our country this type of crime is small compared to other countries.

  17. i really wonder why so many koreans love to stay in the philippines while most filipinos want to go outside our country, it’s extreme. i think the main reason is the cost of living. a typical family of four in korea will spend $3k a month, and such amount is not yet a luxury life & could not even hire a housemaid, while in the philippines they are spending only $1k/mo., with a housemaid, and they live like a king & queen due to a very cheap cost of living. The korean father will work in Korea, and leave his family in the phils., and just visit them once a month or so, in this way they could save a lot.

  18. u know y they have illegal korean in ph?
    its bc its cheaper to pay governmnet Bureau of Immigration, people under table than pay 5000 peso to renew there visa..
    plus who care about philipine law its joke.
    u all know that..
    money talk
    and if u have right connection u can do just about any thing
    accept drug and under age,,,
    u can have dinner with chief justice or other governmnet general even u r illegal….
    they stay illegal bc they not scare of ph law..
    blame this on ph government not korean.
    tell makatie mayor dinoy to enforce the law…
    police ha! folish….

  19. korean in america?????
    now koreans can go to usa with out a visa for 3 month
    but philipine its only 21 day mmmmmm???? why
    crime in usa ,,,,,,,,most of people in jail its 70 % black 30% white ,,,no koreans in jail…
    no need to stay in us illegal bc korean can go to us any time they want….
    usa its not big shot like use to be
    soon or later philipino can go to usa with out a visa
    bc usa its going down…obama say us need to improve education level..dont gave job to people who cant even read or write.

  20. crime its small in usa ha!
    i dont think so
    may be philipine crime its small compare to other country
    look at the crime rate just onl;y one city
    for example baltimore city
    there r 800 people die in one year..
    350 incident for murder..
    how i know bc i was police officer in usa before
    american officer mistreat black people back in 80
    and 90’s….dont belive what american lady say
    but we all dont care about how great usa its we justwant to go there and make money.. who care about there pride…
    usa its bore place its only good for making money
    d ba

  21. love to see Koreans become Filipino Citizens too where we can call then KorNoys…Philippines has been well known as one of the most diverse countries in the world where racism is not common as a Filipino people originated from mixed of races… such as Spain, America, Japan, Chinese, Malaysians, Indonesians, Arabs and African origins.. and also, Filipino culture has been assimilated closely to the western world in particular… the Americans.. Filipinos should welcome Koreans wholeheartedly and be a part of them to make them more diverse!…
    so this way koreans can build there own sm mall
    on there name and no need to use dummy

  22. NoKoreansAllowed
    July 19th, 2008 at 7:33 pm · Reply
    For abusive illegals, file a complete complaint with the BOI with full names and circumstances, and full known address of the illegals and establishments that hire them illegally. even those will be closed.
    lol thats funny
    most korean use dummy
    they dont use there name…do if they hire people its under dummy’s name .
    plus more pinoy hire people and dont even feed them and dont even apply for tin number…
    for example when u work for korean they feed u 3 times a day
    and u work for them years
    but when i work in sm or hotel chain u have to bring ur own food plus u dont even get a tin number…after 6 month they fire u and hire u back…so u dont get a benefit d ba
    there its only one answer its not korean or philipino
    its government
    they must enforce the law !
    this may coming election
    vote for who????

  23. Can someone answer my question please…ASAP How will you know if the company is illegal here in the Philippines?

  24. u call call bir office and ask them
    ask who its the owner of that business
    first of all non pfilipino cant own a retail store
    they can have corporation but only hair salon or whole sale or service business like taxie or spa,,,they can not open restrant or grocery store on there name…this law was made to protect philipino.
    thats y they use philipino gf or bf
    this its ilegall operation
    if u r not a philipino u cant run a retail store …….
    but as we all know thye have more korean resturants in cebu than ph restrants d ba.most korean resturant dont use there name ,,,bc they r not allowed by law…
    lol land of uppertunity ph yeahhh.
    i cant own a land if u r not philipino
    u can only buy condo.
    philipine its place where u spand money ,,u cant make money
    if u try u will loss!
    i think company its ok bc its not a retail store..
    retail meaning open to public ..

  25. u go in the store look at the BIR license on the wall
    look at the picture
    does that picture look like korean to u??
    if owner its philipino and koreans r working there .
    thats still illegal if they dont have working visa like petetion from business owner.
    just like usa..
    petition by company…

  26. @Daniel
    Dude, yes alot of Koreans are here illegally, and yes they try to buy off the officials, and yes there are those who set up dummy businesses. But then there are those that are here legally. Many are students who come here because it’s cheaper than going to the U.S. or Canada. They’re here because they want to improve their (take note of the spelling) English, which is more than I can say for yours.

    1. they are in philippines because the north has all their missiles pointed to their asses in the south, that’s the bottomline, get me?

  27. anyway whatever they wanted it causes too much to understand,we haven’t tried to live in both (Korea-Phil.)but for sure they also created blogs against our fellow tnt over their country same thing as we did. We can both create friendship, love & partnership… Everything’s pleasant it goes off, but for those koreans who hitch filipina it sucks!!!

    1. korean men are known worldwide for hitting, abusing, total mistreatment of their women, that includes filipinas, either their wife, girlfriend or just employees. hate them so much, they will outnumber filipinos soon, they are like rabbits, capable of multiplying so quickly…just don’t be naive, open your eyes, you’ll see what i mean…go home garlic breaths, we don’t want your kimchi breaths…

  28. Though it is true that many Korean EFL schools are illegal, I find fault both with the system and with the Filipino. The Koreans can flurish here because 1) they have money to buy off officials as well as having ghost partners. 2) The Filipino workers settle for such low wages and refuse to stand up for their rights..”it’s ok” is the common response recieved. Why is it that Koreans frequent Korean establishments as oppossed to Pinoy? Is it because we fail to learn their language? Is it because we lack knowledge of their culture? These are possible answers, but one needs to understand that Koreans also have a superior attitude towards other asian cultures and fail to see us as equals. Truth be told, they have no respect for Filipinos as a whole. Don’t be so naive my fellow Pinoy, you are nothing more than slaves to them and let’s not forget that in WWII they were the guards at the camps our fathers died in trying to free our country from the Japanese.

    1. Well said JJ, my great uncles told me stories about the Koreans with the Japanese soldiers during the WW2 occupation, they were the cruel ones…legendary for throwing Filipino babies up in the air, and using their bayonets on their way down. Also, Philippines has to wake and be aware of why there is a big influx of Koreans in the country…the bottomline is – the nuclear missiles of the north are all pointed out in their asses…so, the moment tension and threat builds up, they would just fly for 3 hours to their second homes in PI, dig? Also, I am not a fan of their male attitudes either in business, public intoxication, wife-beatings, rudeness, abuses, and their general disgusting smelly “Garlic Breaths.” Don’t forget, they are capable to multiply like cancer, and gentrify your neighborhood without a blink, suddenly, all billboards in Korean, that’s all, dig! And down with the local immigration department who are corrupt for allowing these people in for money, tsk! Wake up people…wake up!!!

  29. I think what I have to say is with my name!… I HATE KOREANS and If I have to say this a million times, I will!… They are so fucking judgmental.

  30. in my work many korean i think no visa..and other korean illigal bussines..try to inspect to my work..this is d address…inwangsan hotel 3flr..ansa st.brgy.bel air..near makati ave.and burgos…salamat po

  31. I see so many koreans stay in the Philippines for somany reasons..But things are so difficult for them too because I could see they gamble theirlife just to earna living on a country with corrupt Govt system we have..
    Yes we have BID ( Immigration) but many of them are fed with money. I am a Filipino but I rescue Koreans being abused by malpractice and corruption. They tried to earn a living because they were cheated first and then even just to feed their hungry stomACH.. Many of themeven cannot send their student (children) to school. Unlike us Filipinoswhen we work abroad, we even send money for our family.. but forthem, none at all.
    On the other hand, there are many of them who are harsh to their employees. Shame on them but this is not their country…These kinds of Koreans should go back to their land and have no space in here..

    1. fuck those garlic breaths who will dominate our philippines, just remember…they multiply like rabbits, and i don’t like to see many of them in every small town philippines. they are abusive employers, mistreating our pinays, arrogants and they have terrible breaths. why do you have to help them? they got more money for sure!

  32. i think if we had good govt..its end not against koreans but some of them are bad..some of my friends got pregnant with korean student,tour guides, but some of them just left alone supporting their child..korean just runaway too bad huh,but some of my friends their child supporting the father but the parents of korean don’t know..stil not sure until when they keep supporting….and i had friend who had case in court now b’coz his korean bf always hitting her..but the case so slow and the women’s desk in libertad city hall ( i think that place ), asking her to drop the case and get the’s bad to think were both filipina..also the the girl cop or the police who was beside the korean get 40k they said ( for bail daw ) ..filipino talaga..i pity my think that the guy had no working visa and he just had friend who own a ktv bar and had nbi now it’s blurred to think that my friend win that case..also i pity myself coz i was rape with a korean guy before but so afraid that family knows it’s a secret ..i pity all filipina like me who suffer bad against some of cruel koreans…but some of them are kind..just be careful nalang…hope our gov’t change….for the better… tha’s all

  33. @Lara. “im not against koreans but some of them are bad”. lol at that. In every country there are bad people. Don’t blame the Koreans just because your friends got pregnant. It’s their fault though.

  34. @DANIEL. I agree.. “plus who care about philipine law its joke.”
    My Korean friend owns a prestigious car and he’s changing his plate number to a government official plate number and has “wang-wang” I just laughed it out when he said “It’s the Philippines”. You know… He took the law as a joke.

  35. @ everyone
    I just want to remind you guys of the coming Philippine election this May 10. If we really want change in our country, we have to vote wisely. Exercise your right to suffrage! The Philippines needs a leader who has a vivid plan on how to lift the country from its current state. We need a strong leader, a disciplinarian who will implement the laws regardless if the rich and powerful will be affected and who will motivate more Filipinos to create jobs and hire other Filipinos.
    I love my country so much and I really think it is beautiful with its 7,107 islands. The Philippines is a megabiodiversity country with various endemic species of plants and animals. Yes, no race, no culture and no language is superior to another but I think it’s about time for us to help our own first. Change should start within us. We can make a difference in our own community back in the Philippines. For English teachers, we can teach conversational English to kids who are not confident in speaking English and are slow in reading and writing during our vacations back in the homeland. These children are the future of the Philippines. Don’t forget that most of the Philippine population (if not all) can understand, write, read and speak English. We should harness that potential while not forgetting the other subjects (i.e. Math, Science, Social Studies, etc).
    Moreover, we should always remember what our forefathers (i.e. Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, etc) did to make us proud to be Filipinos. We don’t let others rule over us in our own shores! They fought and shed their blood to give us an identity. We should not forget that.
    The Filipino values should also be upholded even in these modern times. The famous Filipino saying (or was it Rizal?, correct me if I’m wrong), “that those who don’t know how to look back to where they came from, would not be able to go to another (which means will not succeed or in that sense)” rings true.
    Whether we change our citizenship or has lived in a foreign country for a long time and has adopted that country’s culture, we are still Filipinos. We should not do anything to taint our identity and we should know how to give back to our homeland or to the land of our fathers, mothers, grandparents,etc.
    Anyway, either you are a Filipino or Korean (or American, Japanese, etc) we have to bear in mind that our life here on Earth is fleeting and short so better live it well.
    The Golden Rule: Don’t do unto others, what you don’t want others to do unto you. God bless us all. 🙂 Sorry for the long entry.

  36. I hear Koreans often misbehave in the Philippines and treat Filipinos bad in their own country. That’s one reason I avoid Koreans when I visit the Philippines.

  37. I’m a Korean and I lived in the Philippines for 2 years. I loved the country and the people who were friendly. What draws Koreans to Philippines is the tropical weather and the extremely affordable cost of living for Koreans. But one thing I hated about the Philippines was the attitude that Koreans were ATM machines. This includes the Philippine government – actually they’re probably the worst. Trying to get proper immigration papers for long term stays from them is impossible without under the table payments. And even then, the beauracracy and the insane amount of paper shufflings by the Phil government and the unacceptably long delays… turn legal stayers into illegals – until you end up bribing the officials. I realize there are illegal Koreans in the US, but I think that’s a totally different case from the Philippines.

    1. Hi! I can’t defend the Philippine government. I love the country but not the bureaucracy 🙁
      I didn’t have a driver’s license in the Philippines because I refused to pay under the table. Long story.
      I understand your story.

    2. That is not part of the Philippine culture and acceptable. You go to the Phil. IMMIGRATION Mr. Simeon Valeada – Chief for anti fraud division and Ms. Lerma Abesamis TEL number 338 45 29.
      They will warmly assist you.

    3. It’s sad story but true. We Filipinos share the same sentiments and we also desire that any form of bribery shouldn’t be tolerated within the system. And I still pin my hopes to the current administration that it would eventually succeed someday to halt the corrupt practices in the government. If you knew any immigration official who practices “under the table payments”, pls. report him/her to the proper authorities. Be part of the campaign to fight corruption.

    4. i hate koreans, they multiply like rabbits in my philippines, so abusive to workers, and truly hate your garlic breaths, dig me? can’t wait for the north to bomb your asses soon! one thing i hate is a korean guy getting drunk at a local bar…and wanting to fight anyone…be careful there bro, filipinos could be friendly and smiley-smiley, but they will can hurt you bad permanently, serious!

  38. i am korean
    i look good girl frriend ho tech me good english and i give any thing she what she wish in life r wnat find help to korea i can help but only for good parsan call r mail me thanks
    mobil no is`01028931784

  39. I wouldn’t mind paying under the table. Does anyone here have any BOI contacts that I can pay under the table to legalize my stay?

    1. I don’t knew exactly what’s going on inside the Bureau of Immigration and if “under the table payments” were real, any BI officials who were involved in this should be charge administratively. Anyway, if you want to legalize your stay in this country, pls. follow proper immigration rules. Take note of the deadline of submission of needed documents.Be patient and responsible.

  40. I have a Korean bf. I met his family. He is good BUT I wonder what his job…. How will I know he is having a legal & decent job?… Pls. Help me. Thanks

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