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160 students from Vietnam disappear: Immigration

Dec 12,2019
Some 160 Vietnamese students who came to Korea to study have disappeared.

The Korea Immigration Service said Monday that the whereabouts of 164 foreign students who enrolled at Incheon National University’s Korean Language Institute this year remain unclear.

According to Incheon National University on Monday, of around 2,000 foreign students enrolled at its Korean Language Institute this year, a total of 164 students, 160 who are Vietnamese, who newly registered last September were absent for over 15 days and have not returned to classes.

Under Korean law, universities must report foreign students who are absent from classes for 15 days to the immigration authority.

A team composed of officials from the Korea Immigration Service and the Ministry of Education on Tuesday visited the university and held a meeting with some employees of the language institute, also attended by Cho Dong-sung, president of university.

The Korea Immigration Service said the investigation is aimed at identifying universities that have a large number of students who overstay on their visas and restricting such universities from accepting more foreign students.

The 164 students entered Korea earlier this year to partake in a short-term language course at Incheon National University and then enrolled in the university’s Korean Language Institute in September. The university only allows the top students who complete the language course with high grades to start undergraduate courses.

The Korean Language Institute accepts foreign students four times a year. A foreign student pays about 1.2 million won ($1,000) of tuition for a term, which is about 4.8 million won a year.

The number of Vietnamese students enrolled at Incheon National University’s Korean Language Institute was only 43 in 2017 and 951 in 2018, but this number increased dramatically and reached around 2,000 this year.

BY CHEA SARAH, SHIM SEOK-YONG [chea.sarah@joongang.co.kr]