SEOUL, April 4 (Yonhap) -- The government said Monday it will clamp down on foreigners staying in South Korea without proper visas and reduce the rate of illegal aliens in the country below 10 percent by 2018.
The government will selectively allow entry to foreigners with low possibility of violating the immigration control law and beef up screening of visa issuance, it said during a planning committee meeting on foreigners policy held in Seoul.
The government's move is in response to a recent series of airport-related security problems that caused alarm bells to go off.
In January, two Chinese nationals snuck into the country without being noticed by immigration officials or picked up by the airport's security systems. Later in the same month, a Vietnamese transfer passenger forced his way through the gate of an unmanned automatic immigration checkpoint without being checked.
All the people that entered South Korea illegally were later apprehended.
Last year, 11.3 percent of foreigners in South Korea were believed to be staying here illegally, according to the Ministry of Justice.
The government also plans to help immigrants better settle down in South Korea by expanding diverse community adjustment programs to prevent possible discrimination against them.
"Over the last decade, the number of foreigners in the country dramatically increased from some 750,000 in 2005 to 1.9 million last year, accounting for 3.7 percent of the whole population," said Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, who presided over the meeting. "A sound foreigners policy is needed now more than at any other time to induce social integration, secure national security and boost economic growth."
The government has allocated some 676 billion won (US$588 million) to carry out projects targeting foreigners in South Korea this year.
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