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Over the years, I have met many people who want to move to Korea.  They love the food, the culture and the language.  They really want to enjoy a Korean way of life.  But for many, they have been presented with different scams that could see them kicked out of Korea with little or no money to show for themselves.  With dishonest people that are looking to take advantage of others lurking online, what should you know about getting a job in Korea?  And what should you keep in mind when applying for a visa?  Here are a few tips that will hopefully prove helpful.

How To Enter Korea

If you enter Korea without a work visa in your possession, you are entering Korea via a passport.  For citizens of most countries, entering via a passport will only allow them to stay in Korea for 90 days.  You will have to leave Korea and have your passport stamped by that time period.  What if you have agreed to a job and had to report right away?  You still need to wait until you have your passport before booking your flight to avoid any troubles.

Who Will Issue Your Visa?

Your approved work visa will be sent to you, or picked up at the Korean consulate’s office for your country.  If you are a United States citizen, you will have to check to see which consulate will cover your region.  You will need to communicate with them before you book your flight to Korea.

Is There Just One Kind of Visa For Entering Korea?

No.  There are different types of visas available.  The visa you have will determine what kind of work you are allowed to do.   For instance, a person entering Korea with a teachers visa will only be allowed to work in education.  A person under this kind of visa would not be allowed to be a full fledged entertainer without changing their visa over to an entertainment visa.  This is the process by which some teachers transition into YouTube stars.  Which visa allows for the most flexibility?  A spousal visa; but you will have to marry a Korean citizen for that.

What Is The Process For Getting Most Visas?

To get a work visa, you will need a sponsor for your visa.  To illustrate this, I will use the example of someone who lives in the United States and is moving to Korea on a work visa. The person would first have to find a company that knows they are not legally authorized to work in Korea, and that would agree to sponsor a work visa for them.  After everything is agreed to, the company would send in the paperwork and pay the fees to get the visa issued by the government.  When the visa is issued, the company would send the paperwork to the new employee.  This information would usually include the employee’s alien identification number.  This will be needed later to open up a bank account, to get an apartment and for other necessary business matters.

That employee will then send the needed information, along with the processing fee that they must pay to their local Korean consulate.  The consulate will contact the Korean government to make sure everything is valid.  If so, they will make the visa and send it to the new employee.  It is only after the employee has the work visa from the consulate that they can use it to enter Korea.  The employee will be instructed by the consulate about what they should do so that they are able to stay in Korea for more than 90 days.

What If You Enter Korea Before The Consulate Issues The Visa?

If you do this, the visa will be null and void.  You will not be authorized to work in Korea and the visa process will have to start over.  More than likely, you will lose your job in this situation.

What If I’m Told To Come To Korea First?

Some companies make it seem like you can just come to Korea and they will then hire you on the spot.  These companies are lying.  Companies that do this usually are ones that don’t keep good employees and are consistently advertising for positions that they cannot keep filled.  Any company that does this probably will be the type of company to not give you the full rights and pay you have earned.

Why Don’t More Companies Sponsor Work Visa?

You may feel frustrated knowing you can be an asset to a company, but they won’t sponsor a visa for you.  For some, they are afraid that once someone is sponsored by them, they will leave for another company without the sponsor getting their money’s worth from that person.  Others feel that it’s not worth all of the time to get a person to come from another country when they can just hire someone who is already in Korea.  The truth is sponsoring a visa is made harder to give Korean workers an advantage in the workplace.  So even though a job requires someone who can fluently speak and write in English, some companies feel it is cheaper and better for them to hire many different people to fill a role than to hire just one person to fill it.

While it may seem to be a stressful task for you to acquire a work visa, this process serves as a protection to you.  Companies that are scamming people will not spend the time and money necessary to sponsor a work visa.  If you are willing to move half way around the world to work for someone, you have the right to know that they are a legitimate company that will take you seriously.  By knowing what to look for, you can be better prepared and less likely to get scammed.

Hopefully this blog has been helpful.  If you have experience or suggestions as to how one can get a work visa, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section.  And as always, if you have any questions, please feel free to #askthewaygookin.