Koreans topped the list of aliens leaving the Philippines, according to the Bureau of Immigration (BI).

More than 400,000 Koreans had left, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said on Monday.

He bared that the exodus of foreigners would continue until the end of 2020.

From January to September, a total of 1.5 million foreigner arrived in the Philippines, just before travel restrictions were imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic, he said, but almost 2 million left after many businesses hiring foreigners closed as the economy shrank.

The plight of the aliens is similar to that of overseas Filipino workers “who wished to come home to their families during the pandemic,” said Morente.

“You can see the effect… areas that were once booming with foreign tourists, workers or students are now empty. We’re hoping that little by little, the confidence of foreign nationals to visit our country, invest here, work here, or study here be renewed as we work to fight this pandemic,” he added.

Foreign tourists are still not allowed and Morales said he hoped that the health crisis would be resolved soon “so we may revive the tourism economy which was badly hit by this pandemic.”

The second biggest batch of aliens that left were Americans and Chinese with around 300,000, followed by the Japanese with more than 166,000.

Based on BI’s mid-September figures, less than 500,000 Chinese are left in the Philippines.

From 2013 to 2019, a total of 6.4 million Chinese arrived in the country, while more than 6.1 million left during the same period.

“In 2020, due to the pandemic, for the first time, we’ve seen more departures of foreign nationals than arrivals,” said Morente.

Close to 189,000 Chinese arrived in the country from January to September, and 292,669 departed during the same period.

Morente sees the exodus of foreigners having a major impact on the tourism efforts of the country.

“The government had made significant strides in improving tourism. However, this pandemic proved to counter all previous efforts,” he said.