Vietnamese nationals illegally residing in the Republic of Korea (RoK) now can return to their homeland without paying penalty fines or being detained under a voluntary repatriation programme.

The Lao dong (Labour) daily newspaper reported on June 5 that the RoK implemented the voluntary repatriation programme for all illegal foreign residents on May 22.

Accordingly, illegal Vietnamese immigrants can use valid passports and plane tickets to register to return home at international airport immigration offices without the imposition of fines or being detained.

The RoK may consider allowing those who voluntarily repatriate to re-enter the country after a two-year ban.

Meanwhile, the RoK will also conduct a crackdown on illegal foreign residents, and those arrested will be punished, deported and banned from entering the country for the maximum term of 10 years.

As many as 26,340 Vietnamese citizens are living illegally in the Northeast Asian country, according to the RoK Ministry of Justice’s Immigration Service.-VNA