South Korea is seeking to reverse its policy of visa-free entry for Egyptians as of October this year given the rising numbers of Egyptian refugees and illegal migrants to the East Asian country.
A South Korean government official was quoted by local news website The Dong-A Ilbo as saying that Egyptians made up almost half of refugee applicants since the beginning of this year.
"If this trend continues, things will get out of control, so we’ve decided to change the current policy,” the unnamed official said.
Egyptians are currently allowed to travel to the country for up to 90 days without a visa.
Data from South Korea's Ministry of Justice shows that between January and May, around 40 percent of those who filed for asylum in South Korea (112 out of 276 individuals) were Egyptian, the website said.
A large number of applicants were men in their 20s and 30s.
Egyptians came third after Pakistanis and Chinese in terms of the number of refugee applicants since the South Korean government started accepting applications in 1994, according to the justice ministry's data.
Between 1994 and 2017, more than 3,200 Egyptians filed refugee applications in South Korea, after Pakistanis (4,268) and Chinese (3,639).
Egypt requires South Korean visitors to obtain on-arrival visas at Egyptian airports.