Working in Korea is not guaranteed to be all that
you've hoped it would be, but can still be a rewarding experience none the less.
To begin with some prerequisites for employment are that you are a Native
speaker of English, you have a bachelors degree or better from a legitimate university,
a valid passport, resume and transcripts. Also, you need a guarantee of
employment from a Korean national. You should get your visa before coming
to Korea. It's much easier and cheaper, unless your employer will pay for
a visa run to Japan. If they are generous, take the trip and see Japan.
You'll be glad you went on another adventure. For more visa information
you can go to the links Ministry
of Justice Republic of Korea or http://www.moj.go.kr/immi/e_frame.htm
. For lots of information about a variety of legal issues faced by English Teachers
in Korea, check out EFL-Law.com
How do I find a job?
jobs are easy to come by, just be careful to do your research beforehand. Listed
below are some of the websites that post job listings.
also choose to use a recruiter to find a job. We have received mixed reviews about
many recruiters and Pusanweb in no way endorses any of those listed below.
Where do I find
a grey list of Korean language institutes?
those eager to post good and bad reports about specific institutes, there a few
active gray lists
does not have a gray list or allow grey list types of postings. If you are interested
in creating your own Grey list website, please do so and contact
the Pusanweb Manager. We will be glad to link to well managed blacklists.
(This does not include sites that target only one employer or school)
I have to register with the government even if I have an E-1 or E-2 visa in my
Yes, you must register at the local immigration office and get
an Alien Registration Card . The Busan Immigration office is located near the
Chungangdong subway stop. For more information about immigrations policies and
district office locations, visit the immigration website
What should I take with me to the immigration office?
You should take your passport, photographs, verification of employment from your
employer, and ten thousand won (plus sixty thousand won for a multiple entry visa)
for the fee.
What should I expect?
office you will be expected to present your passport, fill out a form, pay a ten
thousand won fee, and be fingerprinted.
When do I
get my passport back?
Immigration will return your passport within five
days when you pick up your Alien Registration Card.
can I do if I have a problem with my employer?
Try to work it out first.
If it fails to work in a rational manner, then perhaps these links can help.
of Foreign Workers' Rights - Advocacy group for foreign workers - mostly for
industrial employees, but willing to help teachers as well
of Justice Republic of Korea : including a " The Reception
of Foreign Worker's Complaint", and VISA Issuance procedure.
Ministry of Labor : Good site with info and telephone numbers to their
offices including these below.
of Education - Worth contacting if your employer is violating any policies
governing educational entities
In order to change employers
before your contract expires, you must obtain a 'Release Letter' from your first
employer. You can find more information about obtaining a release letter at: http://www.geocities.com/baxterautry/releaseletter.html
Pusan Regional Administration
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Dongnae Local Labor Office
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Local Labor Office
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Changwon Local Labor Office
Woolsan Local Labor Office
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Yangsan Local Labor Office
Jinju Local Labor Office
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Tongyeong Local Labor Office
severance pay mandatory?
In most cases, it is. Some universities
are not required to pay severance if they offer use the National Educators Pension
Fund instead. According to the labor office in Seoul, you are entitled to
severance pay regardless of whether it is mentioned in the contract. However,
if it is not mentioned, you are not eligible to receive the severance pay at the
end of each contract but only when you actually leave the company. The amount
is one month's pay for each year worked. Receiving the severance pay when
you quit has one advantage: you get it in a lump sum. There are local labor
offices in areas such as Seoul, Gyeongin, Daegu, Daejeon, Gwangju, Pohang and
For more information, visit the
National Pension Corporation website or the How
to Collect Severance Pay website.
What is the
income tax rate in Korea?
For teachers, the amount deducted
from your income for taxes should be around 3%.
For more information
visit the Korean Ministry
of Finance and Economy website.
Are private lessons
Under Korean law a foreigner must obtain permission
from immigration to work at any given site.
In the case of English teaching,
the only places allowed by law to grant such permission are duly licensed language
schools, public and private schools and universities and companies that obtain
Those in Korea teaching on a tourist visa at any
location and those with legitimate E-2 visas who are teaching at a second location
without permission will in almost all cases be deported and may face fines of
several million won if they are caught doing so.
In the past, such
violators were never charged under Korea's ban on private tutoring, but rather
for violating the conditions of their visas, thus the declaration by the high
court will have no effect on the legality of private teaching by foreigners.
Types of Organizations that you can work for:
foreign language institutes (hakwons)
-corporate in-house language
-editing/public relations, advertising companies
Private language institutes (hakwons) are found all over Korea.
Some institutes are well-known with many branches while others are small and short-lived.
The typical employee can expect to work about 30 hours per week. The majority
of classes are conducted early in the morning and in the evening, so many instructors
have free time in the afternoons. Most classes have about 6 to 12 students.
Pupils may be grade school or college students, or businessmen who are contemplating
overseas assignments. Salaries are currently about 1.8 to 2 million won
per month with additional overtime (at w15,000/hr to w20,000/hr). Also, institutes
will pay additional perks including round trip tickets, rent-free housing, severance
pay, visa trip, and sometimes meals.
PRIVATE BUSINESS PROGRAMS
Most large corporate groups (chaebol in Korean) have their own in-house
programs. The typical instructor can expect to teach more than 30 hours
per week, teaching all day from early in the morning to late at night. Some
employers provide the same benefits as hagwons including housing, but the instructor
may be required to either live on campus or commute long distances from Seoul.
The average salary for these institutes is usually higher than hagwons.
UNIVERSITY INSTITUTES AND DEPARTMENTS
Major universities in Seoul,
as well as some provincial universities, operate foreign language institutes.
Some pupils are university students, but the majority of students are business
people These institutes tend to have the highest hiring standards in Korea;
most instructors have MA degrees in TESOL, and years of teaching experience.
The pay, status and benefits offered by these institutes are among the best in
Korea. As a result there is very low turnover.
Most universities in
Korea employ full-time English conversation instructors. University classes
tend to be large, with little personal contact with the students. Most instructors
teach between ten and 15 hours a week. Monthly salaries currently tend to
run about 2 million won (US $ 1,700) per month, with three to four months of paid
vacation per year.
Many Colleges employ full-time
English instructors. They can teach a variety of classes including children,
tourism, and regular conversation classes. The hours tend to be less than
Hagwons but they pay less than Universities.
Many government agencies and some private companies operate research institutes.
Most of these institutes hire foreigners who have degrees in the humanities, economics
or business administration as full-time editors. Editors proofread correspondence
and research publications, write speeches, and occasionally teach. Most
institutes pay quite well, and some provide housing.
Quite a few public relations and advertising companies in Korea hire
foreigners to work as copy editors, and occasionally as teachers.
There are also opportunities to appear on television programs, movies and radio.
Most of these positions pay quite well and some provide housing assistance.
EPIK KOREAN GOVERNMENT PROGRAM
This fairly new, Korea-wide,
government-sponsored program places native speakers in every school district in
Korea and presents a unique opportunity for the adventurous to live far from tourist
routes and population centers. While recruiting and training appear to be
performed quite professionally, teachers' living and working experiences
vary considerably. Housing, benefits, reliability of pay, and access to
ombudsmen is slowly improving, but still has a long way to go.