Are Korean women marrying Vietnamese men more than other nationalities? Not exactly, says Justice Ministry

Posted on : 2023-03-30 17:24 KST Modified on : 2023-03-30 17:24 KST
Recent reports that Vietnam ranked as the top country of origin for male marriage migration statistics in Korea misinterpreted the numbers, the Justice Ministry says
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“Vietnamese men rank No. 1 for international marriages among Korean women — you’ll be surprised why”

Headlines of this sort have made the rounds in the last two days, topping articles stating that the number of South Korean women marrying Vietnamese men is on the rise. The Ministry of Justice, however, refuted the reports on Wednesday, calling the claims “not true.”

Based on immigration statistics published in a report by the Justice Ministry’s Korea Immigration Service, the media began reporting that Vietnamese ranked first in terms of the non-Korean nationality that Korean women married the most. According to this data, 13,905 marriage immigrants entered South Korea in February 2013, of which 6,392 were Vietnamese and 768 among them men.

In contrast, in the same period, only 359 American men and 351 Chinese men entered Korea as marriage immigrants. Given these numbers, it was interpreted that most international marriages involving Korean women were with men of Vietnamese nationality.

But the Ministry of Justice explained the figures differently, saying that the media had misinterpreted the statistics concerning the entry of marriage immigrants to the country.

“The statistics include not only those who entered Korea with a marriage immigration visa in February for the first time, but also those residing in Korea as marriage immigrants who returned to Korea from abroad in February,” the ministry explained.

In other words, these figures alone should not be interpreted as meaning that Korean nations married a specific nationality more than the others since these statistics also include those foreigners who left and then re-entered Korea.

“It is clearly a misinterpretation of the statistics to say that because Vietnamese men made up the majority of the overall category of men on marriage immigrant visas in the February immigration statistics they then represent the top nationality for international marriage,” the ministry explained.

In fact, the ministry revealed that marriage migrant visas were issued to only 27 Vietnamese men in January of this year and a mere 30 in February.

Citing statistics on international marriages published by Statistics Korea, the Ministry of Justice argued that “in the past three years, the number of marriages between Korean women and foreign men was the highest in descending order of men from the US, China, Vietnam and Canada.”

In fact, according to Statistics Korea, out of 4,117 international marriage cases involving a Korean woman and a non-Korean man in 2021, the most common foreign nationality among these men was American (1,276 cases). In contrast, only 440 international marriages with Vietnamese men were recorded.

So in reality, among those Korean women who choose to marry foreigners, a much higher number choose to marry a US national than a Vietnamese man.

By Jeon Gwang-joon, staff reporter

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