Crackdown on Illegal Immigrants in Korea

During the past few days, we have seen posts on Facebook notifying the Filipinos in South Korea of the presence of police and immigration officials in areas populated by immigrants. The Korean government aims to repatriate about 70,000 illegal immigrants through a “crackdown” by the police and immigration office from March to May. This explains their presence not only nearby subway stations but they have been raiding inside factories ~ and apparently, they also check parked cars.
It is advisable to bring your passport or an ID all the time, just in case a policeman or an immigration official stops you.
Here are some of the police and immigration sightings posted by our kababayans:

Police and immigration sightings ~
Police and immigration sightings ~

The police and immigration are targeting no particular citizen of a country ~ but illegal immigrants in general ~
Inside a police office
Inside a police office

They are also stopping and checking people in their vehicles ~
On March 21st, NGOs held a rally in Gwanghwamun to ask the government to treat foreign workers fairly. On this photo it says that “Foreign workers not slaves, not terrorists.”
NGOs rally for rights of foreign workers
Source: HyundaeBulNews

Major English Korean newspapers also published reports last week about foreign workers.
Foreign workers fall victim to discriminatory rules
Korea to suffer 9 million workforce in 2060
90% of SMEs oppose foreign worker levy
Migrants mark UN anti-racism day
Breaking immigration rules can get one deported. However, there are a few who overstay for economic reasons. Illegal immigrants in Korea surely don’t want to risk their freedom and being away from their loved ones if they could only get decent-paying jobs back home. Of course, some will say that it is not Korea’s problem any more but perhaps the country could review existing laws that would benefit both the country and its foreign workers.


  1. 2 points to ask:
    1) How do your consider yourself legal? if one can land a job? with working visa? is that it?
    2) How do your consider yourself illegal? if one holding nothing but visit visa/passport? is that it?
    Please answer, Thnx!

    1. If you’re staying in the country with a visa that has not expired. Also, the visa should represent your status in Korea.

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