For Korea

For Korea


  • Can I get a job somewhere other than a school?

    You can only be employed teaching English at a workplace that is registered with the local education office to employ foreign teachers on an E2 or E1 visa. Most corporate businesses and companies are not registered to do this. This narrows down the number of legitimate places that you can work teaching English. If you wish to be employed at a place other than a school, then you should look for an applicable visa that may be obtained for that employer.

  • Can I take my spouse and/or child(ren)?

    If a spouse does not have a degree then he/she will not qualify for a work visa for teaching. Likewise, if your spouse has a degree but doesn't have a passport from one of allowed countries then then he/she will not qualify for a teaching visa. There are no exceptions.

    Your spouse's options are to apply for a spousal visa or to enter Korea as a tourist. If you are a tourist then will have to leave Korea every three months to renew your tourist status.

    A child can obtain a dependent child visa based on the work visa of the birth parent, or the married parent. You have to provide marriage and birth certificates. You would have to complete all visa processing before going to Korea and you would have to prepay air travel costs for yourself and your child. Only your own air ticket is refundable from the employer.

    The Korean state school system is not suitable for foreign children. There are a few international schools but they are expensive and only within the main centre of Seoul. Alternatively, you could arrange correspondence lessons and supervision of you child. Childcare facilities for foreign children are also expensive and hard to find.

    Because of the issues involved with the placement of families, we are reluctant to accept applications from people intending on taking dependent children with them. Especially if both the parents intend to be working.

    Unfortunately, many school directors are not very open towards employing teachers who have children. Especially if the person is intending to works as well as take care of the child. They think it is impossible to raise your child correctly and also be available for the hours you will be required to work. Your teaching timetable will be changing frequently. This makes it is difficult to plan childcare on a 9am-5pm schedule. You could still be at the school at 9pm! Also, there is concern for the child's health. There is no allowance in employment law for a parent to take leave to look after a sick child.

    The number of children is also very important. If a person is intending to bring 2-4 children of various school ages then the odds of getting a job are practically nil. If a couple want to travel together with one baby or young child, and only one parent will be working, then the likehood of getting a work offer and suitable housing from an employer is much higher.

    If both parents intend to work and they wish to arrange childcare and schooling in Korea then this can make it extremely difficult to get a job offer. As far as an employer is concerned they have to look at the most economical option, hiring a single person without family is always the first option.

    In many cases it is unacceptable for a married couple and child to share an apartment with other single teachers.

    The school will not pay for a family to live somewhere other than the housing provided. Only if the employer has a single unit available will it be possible to not share with other teachers. In this case the apartment may be a very small Korean style studio with only one bedroom and lounge area. Getting accommodation separate from the school can very expensive and hard to find.

  • Is my employer entitled to know my medical background?

    Under the Korean labour law immigration requires that you get a complete medical examination when you enter Korea -within 3 months of your first E2 entry.You must pass this medical or your visa is cancelled. Therefore it is important that you complete the compulsory self assessment medical form honestly.
    if your employer later suspects you are in low health, mentally not coping, or taking drugs, he can legally request you to undergo another medical examination. Because of the adjustment to different climate, new culture and work stress some teachers may find that they have a reoccurrence of previous illnesses (eg. depression or anxiety).

    Therefore, you should understand your own stress levels and 'trigger points', and should be prepared to heed warning signs and seek medical help promptly . Korean employers will be very sensitive to your 'happiness' and general health, so it is important you manage these things properly.
    Our company asks that you honestly declare any previous medical mental illnesses so that we can clarify things with you and make a decision regarding how an employer would look at your medical history. This also helps us to give you relevant advice and help when you are in Korea.

    You will be asked to declare to the employer (if asked) any mental history, physical disabilities or medical conditions (eg. epilepsy or diabetes) as these are medical conditions the employer must know about if they are going to employ you.

  • I have a degree but my partner does not. What are our optio

    If you have a qualifying passport and degree, then you can get a job teaching English. You must always pre-negotiate with an employer regarding your friend/partner living with you at your apartment. Do not expect an employer to provide free housing for a partner. Official permission must be sought and consideration given to the partner paying rent, especially if they are provided with their own bedroom.

    A partner without a degree can't legally get a visa to teach English, and they will be totally dependent on you for income and support. Unless they can gain employment in another occupation, which is very difficult.

    There is no visa for a fianc占?friend/partner, but there is spousal visa. You have to provide proof of marriage, and it is only issued once the teacher has the ' visa issuance' number. Normally the partner's visa must also have a letter from the employer stating that they wish to invite the husband or wife as well.

    Be aware that the spousal visa can't be used for working. You must have a separate work visa if you wish to take up other employment. With no degree, the spouse can't get a job teaching English.

    If the friend/partner is between 18-30 years then you should check out the H1 visa as it allows you to get short term work (but not as a teacher!)

    An H1 visa is specifically linked to a few areas of short-term work, which allow you to earn money to fulfil the objective of a 'working holiday'. As far as we know all applicants for an H1 visa have had to write a covering letter to the Korean embassy explaining their reasons for travelling to Korea. Teaching English in any form while on the H1 visa is banned, as is anything in the 'entertainment' business.

    An H1 visa only allows short term work of periods up to 3 months. We know of an incident where a teacher's partner (on an H1 visa) started working at the same academy. The school had written a contract for her that recorded her activities as a teacher aid. However, immigration did a 'bust' at the school, and found this person in the classroom teaching. No excuse was accepted and both parties were heavily fined, and the person deported. A school cannot offer employment (in any form) to someone with an H1 visa. To do so is illegal.

    Any employment offered to someone with an H1 visa, will probably not include accomodation. In Korea a free apartment is only usually provided in the teaching industry. A general work sponsorship visa can be difficult obtain but the procedure is the same. You must be hired by an employer that has permission to employ a foreigner and has the capacity to do the immigration paperwork.

    Employers are more likely to give free housing to a couple if they think they can gain a second 'free teacher'. Some employers will take the risk of hiring the partner without a visa because they perceive the odds of being caught are low. It makes no difference whether the person is your spouse, has a dependent spouse visa or has an H1 tourist visa. They would be working illegally at the school.

    If you partner is just a tourist in Korea and does not a spousal visa then they must leave the country every 3 months. With a spouse visa they are entitled to stay for 12 months.

    Our company will give no employment advice or representation to any person or partner who knowingly works in an illegal capacity.

  • What city/area is the best to work in?

    Korea is a country that you can fall in love with, but it is also a country that can frustrate you immensely. When foreigners think of Korea they will immediately think of Seoul, which is the major city where most foreigners are located.

    The population of Korea is 47 Million. Just over 20 million people live in Seoul (11 million) and the surrounding province of Gyonggi do and Incheon (9 million). After the war in the 1950's new city plans were drawn up that located many of the new residential areas out of Seoul city. Some of these newer satellite cities such as Pyyonchon, Bundang, Ilsan and Songnam have grown to around 1 million in less than 10 years. Older cities such as Ansan, Guri, Suwon and Bucheon and Pyongtaek have seen enormous growth and economic development in the last 10 years as well.

    The inner city of Seoul is made up of 22 smaller cities or Gu's that encompass half a million people. This means that each Gu within Seoul is in reality a self-governing city of half a million people. Seoul is separated along its middle by the Han River.

    Most of the recent major developments and new housing areas have spread out to the southern areas rather than the northern areas. Seoul is only 64 km from the North Korean Border. The northern areas of Seoul and Gyonggi do province are also more mountainous and include many army bases.

    There are 38,000 US military personnel based permanently in Korea. The US bases are in the process of being moved (in the next few years) to the southern side of Seoul, with major bases in Pyongtaek and Osan. The US military bases are self-contained and the Americans involved in the military mainly stay on base. These bases are like small self-sufficient American towns. There are a number of other American bases in the southern areas of Busan, Jinhae and Gunsan.

    Seoul and the sprawling smaller cities of Gyonggi do are all networked with subway systems, but getting around above ground can be enormously time consuming. Pollution can also be extremely bad at certain times of the year. To get to the mountains and parks you will have to drive for some considerable distance.

    Foreign communities do exist in the smaller cities around Seoul, but there is no one area for socialising. In fact the subway trains in Seoul all stop operating at midnight, making visiting friends and attending social parties extremely difficult at times. In smaller cities without subway systems you may very easily find the hub of the city is more vibrant and your social life is more relaxed and you can get away out of the major industrialised areas much quicker.


    The success of your placement location will depend totally on your own self confidence, the personal support structures, friends and family you have around you now, the ease of your assimilation into the local environment and the new friendships you form with the locals. Some cities will be ugly and unfriendly to some, and beautiful and vibrant to others.

    There are no instant answers, and just because you may have had a friend who went to Gangseo in Seoul and said it was a great place, there is no guarantee you will find this area great as well. Foreigners change jobs frequently so the 'great social scene' your friend talked about may not exist when you arrive.

    Please have an open heart and an open mind regarding all cities and areas in Korea as suitable locations to work.

    Some basic facts about Korea to think about when considering a location to work:

    • 82% of Koreans live in heavily urbanized cities from 100,000-10 million population. Very few live rural lifestyles.
    • Korea is extremely small compared to the USA. Compared to New Zealand it is the size of half of the South Island!
    • It takes only 5 hours to go from coast to coast and 6 hours from top to bottom (by car). Your location is measured by your ability to travel to many other places. It is easy and cheap to travel with an extensive railway and express bus service that operates reliably and frequently.
    • In Korea many of the coastal or port areas are not what we expect as 'coastal towns'.

    Koreans do not go to the beach as we know it, and when they do the coast from Sokcho down to Yeongdok are the preferred places. This large area of coastline has some smaller cities and very few language schools. Also, the coast line in Korea is mostly highly fortified because of the North Korean factor, thus barbed wire pleasantly surrounds the few nice beaches. All people must be off coastal areas by 7pm at night as patrols start then.

    The famous Busan area of Haeundae beach is closely packed umbrella to umbrella and not a beach resort, as we know them. Koreans love it, foreigners usually think 'oh my goodness.' In the USA, NZ, Australia and South Africa we are spoilt for beautiful sandy beaches, coast and scenery.

    Korean's best-loved and treasured places are the national parks and mountain areas, which are plentiful and easily accessed. Many ski fields exist and there are numerous places you can go hiking or enjoy water and outdoor leisure sports.

  • Can my partner/friend and I live together, and work at the

    We have noticed the lack of jobs offered for couples or friends at the same school. Many schools do not not take on more then one foreign teacher because of financial reasons, lack of students, worries that couples will want their holidays at the same time or fears that couples will leave if something happens to either of them (thus leaving the school with no foreign teachers).

    We have had 'up and down' times as far as couple/friends placement are concerned. We definitely find it easier if one of the couple is a trained teacher with experience. Employers will be more interested in hiring and make allowances for a highly suitable person.

    The status of your relationship is also important to the employer. If you are a couple in a permanent relationship (but not married) and you are happy to 'pretend' to be married (even if you are not) then you may be treated better. Most schools have 1-4 foreign teachers and it is a huge problem if more than one teacher leaves at the same time.

    You may want to work at different schools and share the same housing. In practical terms this would be impossible unless you both obtained jobs that had 'key money' for securing your own house. Very few of our placements have this type of 'key money' housing and it is usually only applicable to inner Seoul.

    The housing situation is totally dependent on the employers providing for their own staff. No employer wants to provide free housing for a teacher who might be working at another school.

    If an employer has a two bedroom apartment leased for his teachers then they would expect two of their own staff to live there. Although some schools do provide single studio apartments, which are suitable for couples. Also, some employers get very upset if a teacher from another school is free boarding in their housing. As well as getting free housing this teacher is probably working for the competition.

    In situations where the extra person has been found there have been angry confrontations and the extra partner has been charged a rental fee applicable to the general market or asked to leave. The same policy applies to teachers allowing friends who are working illegally in the area to have free housing. In effect the teacher is subletting the director's housing without permission.

    The best thing is to be extremely flexible with your requirements and requests and allow us to do our best on your behalf. We research all the factors that apply to job offers before we present them to applicants.

  • Can I speak with someone who has completed his/her contract

    Yes. as soon as you are offered a position, you can speak directly with a teacher currently teaching at the school.

  • Can I get higher pay with a Master's degree/teaching diplom

    You cannot automatically expect more pay just because you have a TESOL qualification or a masters degree. As far as immigration is concerned there is no expectation for you to have a TEFL or TESOL qualification to gain a job in Korea.

    Many applicants often waste a lot of time and money buying Internet TESOL courses that are not applicable or needed.

    However, if you have completed an internationally well-recognised TESOL qualification and have relevant teaching experience, then you may be able to negotiate a higher pay rate. Some hogwons (schools) don't even take notice of the type of degree. It does not matter if it is a BA or a MA, just that you have a university qualification!

    Most schools need a general conversational teacher (70% of schools). While other schools may be trying to 'impress' the parents and want to promote the skill of the teacher as beneficial to the students. These schools may pay more and may only hire highly qualified people.

    We work with one such academy in Seoul. They only want us to show them applicants with masters degrees or higher, and they will not accept any teachers with science degrees as they do not see 'the sciences' as applicable to English language education.

    Some schools only want to hire graduates from Ivy league schools in the USA. This may be because they have classrooms with mini-universities themes and they want to sell the teacher as 'elite'. In these cases the teachers are often only employed for their image and not their abilities.

    Overall, there are no general rules regarding pay for your qualifications and all schools have different ways of assessing candidates.

  • How much money should I take when I go to Korea?

     Living expenses aren't very high in Korea.  But to get through the first month, you may need about US$400-500 before your first paycheck

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